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Meet Bengt Åhlén, hydrogeological specialist

We in the West Link: Bengt Åhlén, hydrogeological specialist , talks about his role in the project.


What is your background and how did you get involved in the West Link Project?

I studied land and water resources engineering at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and moved to Gothenburg in 1986. After graduating, I continued as a research assistant and later as a doctoral student at Chalmers University of Technology's Department of Geology. After that I worked as a consultant, mainly with groundwater and geology, before joining the Swedish Transport Administration. Between 2010 and 2013 I was Technical Manager for Hydrogeology for the Citybanan project in Stockholm, which is how I came into contact with the West Link project, which was about to start at the time.

What does your role in the West Link project entail?

I provide specialist hydrogeological support, which involves issues relating to groundwater. At this stage, the questions mainly relate to the process of submitting applications to the Land and Environment Court. I also have extensive contact with external parties about groundwater issues. Right now, this primarily involves property owners, but in future it will also include the authorities who will be responsible for overseeing how we deal with groundwater issues.

What is the biggest challenge involved in the West Link from your perspective?

The biggest challenge is ensuring that we are able to build the West Link in a cost-effective manner while also protecting all the sensitive and historic buildings in Gothenburg. This will largely be governed by the conditions decided on by the Environment Court in the final permit application ruling.

How do you solve the challenge?

By ensuring that we work with skilled colleagues with extensive experience and knowledge from similar projects. We also need to reinforce within the project just how important it is that we follow up and report to our control authorities how we comply with the conditions imposed on water operations.

Our legislation in connection with major construction projects is relatively new. As a result, the dialogue with the construction industry and everyone involved in the construction process in relation to the new legislation is also a major challenge.


What do you like the most about your work?

The best thing about my job is the communication I have with my colleagues and the external stakeholders who need information from us. Within the project, it's incredibly important that every part of the project organisation receives the right information at the right time.


What do you do to relax?

I like to unwind by making music. If I'm not playing an instrument or singing myself, I like to listen to one of my favourite artists. Apart from that, I enjoy cycling, talking about cycling and watching cycling races.

Do you talk about the West Link much in your spare time?

No, not yet. But I imagine that I'll start to talk about it more as we approach the construction start date...