Cityringen: the new circular urban line around the very centre of Copenhagen

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The project

Denmark’s capital city boasts the most advanced public transport system in Europe. Cityringen is a new circular urban line around the very centre of the city.

It includes two 17.4 km long tunnels and 17 new fully equipped underground stations situated on average 30 metres below street level.

The new metro will provide 85% of the population with a station every 600 m and a train passing every 100 seconds. It will connect with the existing metro line as well as bus and train stations, thereby reducing the need to travel by car. Under the CPH Climate Plan 2025, Copenhagen intends to become carbon neutral by 2025. The metro system – and public transportation in general - is one of the components of this plan to reduce CO2 consumption from about 2.5 million to less than 1.2 million tonnes. By 2025, Copenhagen foresees 75 percent of trips made by residents to be done on foot, by bike or public transportation. The fully automated Cityringen line is driverless and provides a 24-hour transport system that guarantees the mobility of 130 million passengers a year.

 

The secrets of an ambitious project

Building Cityringen, with its high level of technology and innovation, was not an easy task. Copenhagen Metro Team I/S (or CMT, a fully owned subsidiary of Salini Impregilo) took approximately 9 years to complete this important transport infrastructure – quite an achievement if we consider other similar driverless projects in Europe taking into account their different location and conditions of implementation. The Cityringen project has several remarkable features. Apart from the aforementioned completion time the project included very challenging underground works. An example of this is the case of Magasin Du Nord (Copenhagen’s most important and historic department store), where the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) excavated a mere one and a half metres below its foundations without obliging the shops to have to close. The project’s deepest station is under the Marble Church but its construction did not cause any structural damage to the city’s most famous church.

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Safety in the Worksites

Protecting the environment and taking care of the needs of residents were always an imperative for CMT – likewise the health and safety of the workers building the metro line. Last December, the entire Cityringen project proved itself to be a leader in Europe when it celebrated the achievement of one million working hours without a single accident causing absence from work. It was a record that demonstrated the high level of attention paid to health and safety. In fact, the accident rate was five times lower than Danish average -- further evidence of how the project had always respected the standards of excellence.

Focus on people

From the very beginning of the project, the use of local workforce for at least 50% was a priority. The project promoted new employment opportunities, also paying great attention to gender distribution: female employment represents a quarter of the project’s personnel, while also engaging 200 suppliers.

All personnel received training, with courses aimed at developing technical and managerial skills.

When works were being carried out, Salini Impregilo also promoted an awareness and training campaign aimed at developing a culture that greatly focused on health and safety issues, with workshops for 150 managers, events that engaged over 600 workers, and a mini-workshop.

Cityringen and the environment

During the execution of the works, the management of chemical substances was something extremely important, to avoid ground and underground-water infiltrations. A special monitor procedure and system was created to ensure the correct analysis and use of materials were to guarantee compliance with the environmental regulatory framework.

Local communities

Building large infrastructure in densely populated urban areas involves many challenges, not only technical ones, but also in terms of interacting with the surrounding environment. The best way to allow people to understand a project’s complexity – and the related potential end benefits, despite the inconvenience caused during the construction phase – is to open the doors to the public.

Since 2014, in Copenhagen, specific information campaigns were organized to engage local communities, inviting them to visit our worksites so that the Group could explain the technology used and how the works were progressing.

To ease communication with citizens, a specific email address was made available to the public, while also introducing a mobile network SMS system to inform citizens of any extraordinary works that could cause unexpected noise pollution and traffic.