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The Kissing Bridge connecting Copenhagen

Photo: Jasper Carlberg

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​The Inner Harbour Bridge, better known among the locals as the Kissing Bridge, will today be handed over to the Copenhagen Municipality. The complex bridge construction is the first of its kind.  

A long time underway but only a few weeks after its opening a new landmark, a meeting place and a vital traffic route saving transportation time for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists in the Danish capital. 

That is a short characteristic of the new Inner Harbour Bridge in Copenhagen officially being handed over to the municipality today.  

But there is more to it. The Inner Harbour Bridge is a complex construction and the only of its kind in the world.  
 

Efficient connection to new urban areas

The steel plate you are walking or cycling on is only 10mm thick in most places, but it has stiffeners inside to stop it from bending and buckling under load.
 
Another feature is  the bridge's sliding spans. This is only possible, because the width of the harbour is so much greater than the width of the navigation channel providing enough room for the steel spans to pull back out of the way when ships pass by.

The varying geometry and support conditions as well as the interaction between the steel and concrete structures, makes the bridge a very complex design and it faced many different challenges underway – from the bankruptcy of the entrepreneur to flooding of the engine room and a few operational issues. 

To see the beauty and functionality of it today and to realise that many Copenhageners and tourists have been quick to adopt the bridge and appreciate the efficient connection between the vital areas of the city, is  a great joy,” says Ian Firth, Director, Flint & Neill.  

The construction of the bridge started in 2011 and opened up for traffic in July 2016 providing fast, safe and efficient connection between the vibrant Nyhavn and new urban areas. ​

FACTS on the Inner Harbour Bridge

  • ​The Inner Harbour Bridge has been nicknamed the Kissing Bridge due to the "kissing" movable bridge parts, when the bridge closes. 
  • The bridge contains special dampers inside to control vibrations caused by people, bikes and weather.  
  • They operate like a pendulum, only vertically and tuned to vibrate at the same frequency as the bridge. 
  • The bridge is a series of hollow boxes. The middle part is a hollow steel box that slides backward and forwards between the outer parts.
  • The curved geometry and complex cross section added a significant challenge to the detailed design. The outer side faces of the steel spans are in fact smooth conical surfaces. The inner faces are complex warped surfaces so the steel plate is formed from a series of triangular facets.  
  • The steel spans weigh 250 tonnes each. Made in Poland, delivered to Copenhagen by sea in August 2015 and installed by floating crane on a single evening.
  • It takes approximately 2 minutes to open the bridge. Same to close. 
  • If you arrive just as bridge opens for traffic you may risk a 10 minutes wait 
  • Length: 180 meters. 
  • Width: 18.5 meters. 
  • The two moving steel sections are 8 meters wide.

Project team

  • Flint & Neill: Design team lead and structural engineering design
  • Studio Bednarski: Bridge architect 
  • Hardesty & Hanover: Mechanical and electrical engineering design
  • COWI: Local client liaison and engineering support

LAST UPDATED: 06.07.2017