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Crossing the Hardanger Fjord with BIM


Located in breathtaking yet challenging fjord landscape, 1380-meter long Hardanger Bridge in Norway opens on Saturday 17 August. It is the 9th longest suspension bridge in the world. Creating a bridge like this using steel from all over the world calls for special equipment and expert planning and modeling, for which the Danish construction and civil engineering company MT Højgaard needed Tekla software.

Because the new bridge replaces a ferry connection, it significantly reduces the journey time between Oslo and Bergen, the two largest cities of Norway. The structure may look weightless, but more than 14,000 tons of steel were used in the construction - the suspension cables alone weigh 6,400 tons. MT Højgaard delivered and assembled all steel structures of the complex and challenging bridge.

In addition to using models of the cables and bridge deck boxes, MT Højgaard developed and manufactured with Tekla software the special equipment they needed in the installation. For example, they created a walkway for workers hanging from pylon to pylon and a device for spinning the main cables on site, and also an advanced crane that ran over the main cables and lifted straight up the beam elements from the ship that brought these to the site.

Modeling the Assembly

Assembling a structure like the Hardanger Bridge requires good planning, especially when you ship parts from all over the world and even need some special equipment. MT Højgaard stayed ahead of potential problems because they received, created and utilized constructable Tekla building information models and made several films that simulate structures and their assembly.

- “Modeling and films are necessary for complex construction like this bridge. Films benefit us through visualization and allowing us to discuss the highly complex assemblies already at the design office. We can plan well before construction on site,” says Torben Johannesson, design director at MT Højgaard Design & Engineering Department.

- “As a concrete result of the detailed visualizations, we found out that some bolts could not be installed according to instructions. We could then correct this before installation was in full swing, which was worth gold,” he continues.

According to Johannesson, the main benefit of modeling is that all problems and other clarification needs are identified and can be solved before production.

- “In any case, we have seen a huge profit with Tekla associated with the task and MT Højgaard will continue using Tekla software in future bridge work”, says Torben Johannesen.

Hardanger bridge in numbers

- Total length 1380 meters
- Main span 1310 meters – 30 meters longer than in the Golden Gate bridge
- Two lanes and a pedestrian and bicycle path
- Two 200 meter-high pylons
- Sailing height under the bridge 55 meters


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