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Longer construction time and increased cost – E4 Stockholm bypass [2019-11-05]

Owing to several events since construction start, the project is now getting a new schedule and budget.

The E4 Stockholm bypass is a complex construction that will comprise one of the world’s longest six-lane motorway tunnels. It is important for facilitating travel in and to the Stockholm region. Some four years into the construction phase, the bypass is getting a new schedule and budget. This is attributable to several events that have occurred since construction start.

“Almost four years into the construction phase, a number of risks and new findings have come to light as the project has progressed. Consequently, the Swedish Transport Administration now judges that a construction time of ten years is too optimistic,” reveals Johan Brantmark, project manager. “There are two main reasons for increased construction time and costs. These are the geological conditions in certain limited parts of the rock stretches where we are blasting and termination of the contract and work for the Lovön tunnels.”

Over the past year, the Swedish Transport Administration has been working on a new time and cost analysis for the project. Said analysis is now ready. It shows a cost increase of around 10 per cent, i.e. SEK 3.3 billion. As a result, the costs in the national plan are rising from SEK 34.4 billion to SEK 37.7 billion. It is presently assessed that traffic will be able to use the entirety of the new E4 Stockholm bypass in 2030 rather than 2026. The possibility of opening part of this stretch earlier is being investigated.

Progress in constructing 55 kilometres of tunnel has not gone as quickly as planned in previous Swedish Transport Administration analyses. Work has been hampered by rock being of poorer quality than studies have thus far indicated. The main culprits are weak zones in the Mälaren passage and having to seal the rock more than calculated in northern stretches.

“Our new analysis also shows that installation and testing of the new facility will take longer and cost more than first calculated,” states Johan.

The energy consumption and electricity supply equipment required to keep the facility operating will correspond to that needed by a small municipality. Testing a safe, high-technology facility takes time. This construction phase will take longer than indicated by the Swedish Transport Administration’s previous analyses.

Using the finance allocated under the national plan, work is continuing as planned. The Swedish Transport Administration has now advised the government of the new conditions. To determine how long-term finance is to be managed, dialogue on this issue needs to continue. At the same time, so that production can continue on a broad front, it is important to engage a new contractor on Lovön. Last autumn, project work was under way along the entire stretch and the Swedish Transport Administration was blasting around 800 metres of tunnel each month.

 

In breif

  • Running from Kungens Kurva to Häggvik, the new stretch of the E4 is 21 km long. Six interchanges connect the new section to the existing road system at several European highways.
  • Around 18 kilometres of the new road run through tunnels. With main tunnel, work tunnels and ramp tunnels, total tunnel length is approximately 55 km.
  • The Swedish Transport Administration is constructing the road via some twenty major contracts. In the project’s present stage, thirteen contracts are ongoing in an intense construction phase. A further contract is to start after the Lovön procurement.
  • On rock tunnel completion, the next construction phase (technical installations) begins. To keep all systems operating, the power that has to be installed equates to that for a small municipality (e.g. Filipstad).
  • When the Swedish Transport Administration opens the road to traffic, this will double the percentage of “high-technology” roads in Stockholm.