From 28 May, passengers will be able to travel through the Danish city Odense on the new light rail. The light rail opens after more than ten years of preparation and seven years of construction work, where COWI, as technical consultant, has played a significant role.
It was not only a big day for the city of Odense, but also for the entire light rail project. The new light rail hits the streets and creates a new, sustainable transportation network across Denmark's third largest city. After weeks of departure tests and final operative tests of tracks, signals and light rail carriages, the first passengers could jump on the light rail on Saturday 28 May.
FROM LARGE TOWN TO BIG CITY
The light rail stretches throughout 14.5 kilometres and 26 stations. The journey from Tarup in the north to Hjallese in the south takes 42 minutes, and departure takes place every eight minutes.
Hopefully, this will ease the car traffic in the city centre and make it easier for citizens in Odense to get around. In this way, the light rail will play a big role in the development of Odense centre," says Rune Skovmand, regional director of the Odense office.
"This has been one of the largest infrastructure projects. In relation to the business, this has been of great significance. However, it has meant something special for the Odense office. It has also attracted employees, and then it is great to be part of a project that forms the city in which you live. Thomas B. Thriges Gade, which was previously filled with heavy traffic, has been closed off and a new environment and quarter has showed up. That has connected the city. Odense has had a new, big city expression, and we are proud to have been involved in that," says Rune, who within recent years, has been leading the preliminary examinations with a view to commence a potential phase 2 of the light rail.
"We have also been the main consultant on this potential phase 2 and managed the preparation of the EIA, authorities processing and explanatory report, which were submitted last year and are now undergoing the political process. At the moment, we are expecting the political decision to be made in the autumn of 2022."
LONG TIME, GREAT SUCCESS
The light rail has been on its way for a long time. This is the case for COWI as well, who as technical consultant, has been part of the project from the very beginning, ten years ago. Thus, we were responsible for the preliminary EIA and since then, we have been a significant part of the screening, authorities processing, explanatory report, and the overall construction of the light rail.
Lars Dalager Hansen, who has been the project manager on the light rail project for the past 1,5 years, looks back at the project as a project that gave him challenges, but which has also developed in a COWI perspective.
"All divisions and more than 500 colleagues have been involved in the project. Great efforts have been made, and I want to thank everyone for that. We are now about to see the results of all the efforts - even outside our doorstep at the Odense office - and we are very much looking forward to that," says Lars.
Watch the video below on how COWI strengthens sustainability and biodiversity in the city in connection with the light rail project.