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The Kissing Bridge's First Kiss

Photo: Jasper Carlberg
​The first kiss of the Kissing Bridge took place Thursday afternoon. Soon the bridge in central Copenhagen - with the official name Inderhavnsbroen - will open and provide improved transit routes for pedestrians and cyclists in the city.

After many challenges and a very complex and innovative project, the final launching of huge bridge spans was a seamless performance of timing and accuracy. It was admired by many local spectators and applause was heard to break out across the harbour as the spans kissed.

"It is great to get to this stage at last," said Ian Firth, Director of Flint & Neill, a COWI subsidiary, whom is in charge of the design. "It has been a long and difficult journey, with many complex challenges to resolve along the way, but we are nearly there now, and we are sure that the people of Copenhagen will be delighted with the result when it is finished."

The span installation was a similarly amazing performance the week before. The 55 m long steel spans first arrived by barge and were lifted in by the large floating crane Samson. The entire installation went completely according to plan.
"It was fantastic. Every detail just fitted perfectly and there was a collective sigh of relief," said the site manager Leif Müller from Københavns Kommune to Ingeniøren.

The project boasts a spectacular and innovative design, and the bridge will be a landmark in Copenhagen linking the inner city with the creative and urban area on Christianshavn. Currently some 40000 cyclists cross Knippelsbro every day, and many of these are expected to use the new Kissing Bridge as their new route.

But it has not all been plain sailing since Flint & Neill won the project in 2009, working with architects Studio Bednarski and Hardesty & Hanover for the M&E design.  COWI has provided support throughout.

In 2012, 10 pillars were cast 56 cm taller than required and subsequently had to be partly cut down and re-cast. The main contractor, Pihl & Søn, then went bankrupt in august 2013, making things ever more complex and There were also serious quality issues with the steel production in Spain where the spans were first being fabricated.  The contract had to be re-tendered and Valmont were appointed to carry out some repairs and complete the work, with a new Polish fabricator taking on the job of producing the steel spans.

But last week, it all went as clockwork. The gigantic floating crane lifted the west span and with great accuracy and only millimeters to spare lowered it into the concrete span. Later the same night, they repeated the procedure with the east span. And finally on Thursday afternoon the two steel parts met for the first time and could share their first kiss.

The Kissing Bridge is expected to open this fall.


Published 14.08.15
By Lisbeth Nedergaard

LAST UPDATED: 04.07.2017