I am probably not the only one who is tired to the bone of all these green boxes all over Copenhagen.
Anyway, it has to be bad before it can turn out to a happy end with Metro in the city. It will take a looong time to get there, so we might as well amuse ourselves with – and become a bit wiser on – what is going on behind that green fence. I was there when Metroselskabet invited my neighbourhood to “Open Metro”.
My tour starts in Spring 2015. As you can see, I was lucky enough to catch the early bloom as an extra decoration on what is blooming behind the green fence.
This is Nordhavn Station, which will be one out of 24 new Metro stations, spread throughout a 15.5 kilometers long tunnel. Some of these stations even go as deep as 35 meters below earths’ surface. But how does it all happen?
Roughly speaking, a metro station is built in 6 phases:
- Digging out and concreting the walls
- Concreting part of the roof to the station
- Digging out room for the station
- The subway boring machine passes the station
- The station is established
- The surroundings in the city adapts to the station
Here is the first phase when the underground-walls is built by so-called secant piles. The machine creates big circles in earth to make room for the piles, which will be connected two by two. One pile will be plain concrete, whereas the pile next to it will be reinforced concrete, then plain again and so forth.
All the soil coming up from the pile-digging needs to be removed from the city, to the harbour or other places where it can be useful. That means a lot of “emptying the bin”. Just have a look at this major bin … The whole building of the Metro creates 3.100 tons of wasted soil!
The piles look huge, when they are not underground. Again, it does take size and strength to support the walls more than 30 meters below the rest of us.
The machines work fast. It takes 2-5 hours to make the circles in the ground for secant piles. Actually, the building of Nordhavn Station moves that fast forward that the designers of the new station have troubles following the original plan.
Nevertheless, no matter how fast you are working, you must never miss an opportunity to have a break and think about your own important (however small) part in such a huge project. Maybe this is what the man is doing, while he is waiting for the next bin of soil.
What I find most fascinating about all this building is the fact that we are all so small. At least compared to the enormous cranes it takes to build a Metro. The highest crane on the site is 40 meters (or the same height as 8 giraffes on top of each other, as Metroselskabet tell their youngest visitors).
The best part is that today’s piling machine is as high as 110 meters. Just compare it to the block building on the left – and you got everything into perspective.
The first building should be finished at Nordhavn by the end of this Summer. Let’s keep an eye out on them, shall we? We can always do that through the peepholes in the green fences. Remember we got 6.000 metres of green fence, so you can certainly find one near your place.
If you can’t get enough of the Metro-building, visit Metroselskabet for further information.