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Helsinki eyes cycle tunnel under train station – or a bridge over it?

A bridge over the railyard would be much less expensive than a tunnel, say the companies that came up with the proposal.

Havainnekuva ratapihan ylittävästä pyöräsillasta.
Artist's rendition of the suggested bridge. Image: WSP & YIT

A proposal for a cycle tunnel under Helsinki's main railway station has sparked a rival proposal: a bridge over the railyard, which a construction firm claims would be 16 million euros cheaper than a tunnel.

The construction company, YIT, teamed up with the consulting firm WSP to come up with the alternative solution, reports Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday. They suggest a 275-metre bridge linking Kaisaniemi Park with Kansalaistori (Citizens' Square) on the station's west side. The proposed elevated pathway would be 6.5 metres wide. The companies say it would be modelled on Copenhagen's 2014 Cykelslangen ('Bicycle Snake') and Helsinki's Aurora Bridge, which they built as a joint project in 2012.

"Interesting and welcome proposal"

Risto Rautava, deputy chair of the City Council's Urban Environment Committee, welcomes the proposal and calls it interesting. The committee is to take its first look at the plan on Tuesday, but Rautava says it will require closer scrutiny so will be reconsidered two weeks from now.

"I'd say that the original tunnel plan should be sent back for further preparations and at the same time we should also look more carefully at this bridge as well," Rautava says.

The plan for a 220-metre tunnel was presented to the committee two weeks ago. It would be connected to the existing pedestrian tunnel under the railyard. The cost estimate is 26 million euros, compared to 10 million for the bridge alternative.

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