Marine transport in the Stockholm Bypass project

Construction of the Stockholm Bypass is planned to start in the summer of 2014. 21 km of motorway, (18 km tunnel), will, when finished, connect the southern and northern parts of the Stockholm region. From a shipping perspective, the project is a unique example of the potential for using waterways in large infrastructure projects where more than half of the 19 million tonnes of rock extracted from tunneling will be transported by ships or barges from three temporary jetties. Two of these jetties will also be used for transporting building materials and construction machines by sea. The project is now in the final stages of preparatory work and the last remaining permits are expected in the beginning of 2014, followed by several procurements and a build start next autumn. As support during the preparatory work, the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has contracted SSPA as a consultant in matters relating to the marine transport. The assignment includes: risk analyses, evaluation of harbors and ships, costing and developing the marine transport framework.

The Stockholm bypass project, video clip from the Swedish Transport Administration

The Stockholm Bypass

Stockholm is one of the fastest growing regions in Europe. More than 30 000 people move to the region every year and population numbers are expected to increase from 2 million to 2.5 million by 2030. A good labor market and an attractive location are contributing factors. On the other hand, there is a shortage of housing and the transport infrastructure is over capacity.

Particularly vulnerable is the passage over the “Saltsjö-Mälar” cut. This cut naturally separates the region into a northern and a southern section. It is defined by Lake Mälaren to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east. The separation can only be crossed over a few bridges, resulting in a vulnerable traffic system, which in turn obstructs Stockholm from growing as one region. Planning of a new motorway has been underway for some years under the working title “Stockholm Bypass”. When the motorway is completed in around 2024, roughly 140,000 vehicles per day will have the option of travelling from “Kungens kurva” in the south to “Häggvik” in the north. This distance will take less than 15 minutes compared to the present 30 – 60 minutes. The project is estimated (2009) to cost around SEK 27.6 billion.

The Stockholm Bypass will consist of 21 km of new motorway linking the southern and northern parts of Stockholm. To reduce environmental impact, 18 km of the road is in a tunnel. Graphic: Tomas Öhrling

Interfaces and procurements

Construction of the Stockholm Bypass is divided into two phases. The first phase comprises establishing a working area and constructing working tunnels and harbors. This phase will take about one year followed by work on constructing the main tunnels. To reduce construction time, a substantial part of the work will be carried out in parallel on seven stretches of the Bypass. All extracted rock will be transported away by dry cargo ships and/or barges from three of these stretches.

Focusing on marine transport, three basic interfaces with the following specific areas of responsibility can be recognized:

  • Receiver (buyer) of extracted rock: provide and be responsible for the harbor where the rock is unloaded
  • Contractor first phase: Construct and start up the harbor
  • Contractor second phase: Operate the harbor, responsible for marine transport of rock, construction materials and machines. The contractor is also responsible for phasing out the harbor and restoring the surrounding area.

Procuring the two phases and selling extracted rock are separate contracts. Thus, each interface for each stretch might be operated by different companies. In the same way, one company can also operate several contracts. Irrespective of the result of the procurement process, the different areas of responsibility must be sufficiently developed to secure a sustainable transport system over the project’s lifecycle. In this context, SSPA supports the development of a transport concept and a related framework. Examples of tasks are transport analysis, benchmarking of ships, ice recommendations and costing.

Transporting extracted rock

The transport chain starts once tunnel blasting commences. Large pieces of rock will then be crushed to fractions of 0-150 mm and transported by a conveyor system to the ship. The ship then travels a few hours to local ports in Lake Mälaren and is unloaded by an excavator on the ship deck or by harbor cranes. In connection with the unloading, the deal between the buyer and the Transport Administration is closed. The buyers will then store and process the material into rock products for the local construction industry. A total of 9.5 million tonnes of rock will be transported at sea over a 5-year period. Putting this into perspective, the present cargo volume transported on Lake Mälaren is less than 3 million tonnes annually.

To use short sea transport as an integral part of large infrastructure projects is very rare in Sweden. Thus a new dimension is added to both buyer and contractor. Compared with trucks, which can basically be ordered from one day to another, a sea transport system of this type requires lots of preparatory work. New harbors and new fairways require design work as well as cooperation with several authorities such as the Swedish Transport Agency, County Administrative Board and Swedish Maritime Administration.

Risk Analysis

Lake Mälaren is the third largest lake in Sweden and a very important national resource. The lake is used for sea transport, fishing, and is a much appreciated recreational area. It is also a very sensitive area with several heritage sites and nature reserves. The lake is the primary fresh water source for 2.5 million people.

Thus, the impact of the transport on the environment must be minimized. To cope with this a risk analysis of the sea transport is mandatory. This was performed by SSPA following the IMO FSA (Formal Safety Assessment) methodology. In this methodology the Hazid (Hazard Identification) meeting is a central part. During this meeting several stakeholders were invited to give their opinions about risks and action to reduce risks in relation to project phases, harbors, fairways and operative scenarios. To create a consensus about the prerequisites, a Hazid is always preceded with thorough research and analysis of the typical conditions in the area. For this, SSPA has several tools for efficiently compiling and presenting significant data over the actual area.

GIS, (Graphical Information System) together with statistics of sea traffic (AIS), accidents, metrology, hydrology and ice, provide comprehensive tools for visualizing the typical area’s specific conditions. The result from Hazid is then summarized in a matrix and each participant gets the opportunity to rate likelihood and consequence of the risks and also how a specific risk-reducing action will change the rating. The results are compared to the risk acceptance criteria and the effect of possible risk reducing measures can be evaluated and suggested for implementation.

Although the risk analysis is a very ‘hands on’ example of an SSPA task in the project, a lot of our work in this project is about supporting the Swedish Transport Administration on a daily basis, e.g. answering questions, participating in meetings, managing contacts with the maritime industry and authorities. With more than 900 years of shared maritime knowledge, SSPA is not only your maritime solution partner, we can also be your maritime supporting partner.

Photos and illustrations

The rock is crushed down to fractions of 0 – 150 mm and loaded onto ships using a conveyor system. Construction materials and machines are transported by Ro-Ro ferries. Graphic: Tomas Öhrling.

Traffic intensity taken from AIS statistics.

The combination of Geographical Information System and AIS data is a powerful tool for evaluating the position of a harbor.

Excavator on ship deck, one possible solution to unload the extracted rock. Photo Torvald Hvistendahl.