Connection between the Fosen peninsula and Trondheim city (Norway)
Fosenbrua AS is looking at the possibilities for financing a fixed connection between the Fosen peninsula and Trondheim city in mid Norway. The project package of around NOK 12 billion consists of two major fjord crossing bridges (crossing the Trondheimsfjord and the Stjørnfjord), tunnels and some road projects. So far it is assumed that the project becomes a Trøndelag County road project, but it will be fully financed by the traffic itself.
The Fosen peninsula:
The Fosen peninsula has about 25,000 inhabitants in 4 municipalities in Trøndelag County:
– Indre Fosen
A connection across the Trondheim fjord between the Fosen peninsula and Trondheim has been worked upon for several years. A company has recently been established to realize the plans. The selected crossing area is between Flakk (at the Trondheim side) and Rørvik (at the Fosen peninsula). We have made assessments to have a look at the financial capacity. We estimate that the implementation capability is robust.
The ongoing project Fosenvegene AS will on its own significantly reduce travel times at the Fosen peninsula. The company Fosenbrua AS has formulated a toll project consisting of:
– A bridge crossing the Trondheimsfjord
– A bridge crossing the Stjørnfjord
– Tunnel between Flakk and Ila / Sluppen (Trondheim)
– Road projects
This means that most of the 25,000 inhabitants at the Fosen peninsula will be able to travel to Trondheim in less than an hour.
Growing population in the Trondheim region
The population in Trondheim is growing rapidly and is now approaching 190,000 inhabitants. Greater Trondheim (including the nearest neighboring municipalities) plus Orkdal and Stjørdal municipalities has a population of around 260,000 inhabitants.
Low traffic growth at ferry connection Flakk-Rørvik
Today’s traffic at the ferry connection Flakk-Rørvik is under 2000 vehicles per year. There has been a low traffic growth in recent years.
Communication framework and traffic
Recently ferry prices and tolls may have influenced the growth of traffic. But there are more fundamental challenges. Today two ferry connections serve the Fosen peninsula, Fv 715 Flakk-Rørvik and Fv 710 Brekstad-Valset. Both clearly represent a communication framework for population growth, business travels and leisure activities. This is inhibitory and leads to greater development elsewhere. For example, there is a great deal of pressure along the Orkanger-Trondheim-Stjørdal axis.
In anticipation of a major traffic analysis, some rough assumptions about redistribution of traffic and the level of toll rates have been made. Fosenbrua AS work preparation is based upon an average daily traffic (ADT) in the opening year of 4000 vehicles. Rambøll AS has previously made traffic assessments and assumed a traffic of 4400 vehicles ADT in the opening year.
Norconsult AS has subsequently established a traffic analysis model. Their model shows that, in an estimated opening year in 2022, there will be significantly higher traffic than was the basis for the preliminary work.
The traditional repayment periods for 15-20 year toll loans are very challenging for large infrastructure projects outside the major cities. Ferry remedies for relayed ferry connections assume that annual grants can be funded over a period of 40 years. It can be argued that financing such strategic and costly infrastructure must be considered as investments that can be financed with other investments. For example, loans for municipal facilities and schools are paid thru terms 30 and 40 years. In preparation work for this project we assumed that it is possible to claim a toll fee over a 40 year period.
From tunnel to floating construction
Previously there were plans for a subsea crossing further north in the Trondheimsfjord. Plans today are based on a floating construction across the fjord in the Flakk-Rørvik area.
The result of the work was presented at the International Conference Strait Crossings 2013 in Bergen 16-19. June 2013. Posts and presentations are available in the Proceedings from the conference, published under the Norwegian Public Roads Administration Report, Report No. 231 at www.vegvesen.no.
Technically possible and economically feasible
Conclusions by Rambøll states the Trondheimsfjord crossing is technically possible and economically feasible if a toll period is longer than 20 years. Furthermore they point out that the financing capacity of the project will be strongly affected by potentially increased settlement at Fosen.