Accoya bridges the fjord in striking hiking path construction

20 March 2017

Accoya has been chosen to form the largest bridge and integrated bench for a hiking path along the Hafrsfjord in Norway.

The hiking trail spans 850 metres and is very popular with local and visiting walkers, joggers and cyclists. Named the Stavanger Boardwalk, the project comprises two bridges and paths, one is 45 metres and the other is 30 metres. It connects neighbouring coastal villages in the Håhammaren area which look out onto the magnificent Hafrsfjord, one of the most well-known fjords in Norway.

The project was commissioned by the Stavanger region in 2011. The task was to find a solution that would preserve as much of the natural surroundings and terrain as possible, while also creating an innovative and remarkable structure that would leave a lasting impression.

International wood trading company Woodlink AS provided the Accoya used for the Håhammaren Bridge, the largest bridge of the Stavanger Boardwalk. The weather alongside Håhammaren rock wall is particularly extreme and the likelihood of ocean water splashing onto the walkway is very high. Accoya was seen as the obvious choice for the Boardwalk due to its durability and high slip-resistance. Plus, the material is virtually rot proof and is far less likely to warp compared to other wood products.

For this project, the foundations were fixed into the seafloor, which is 45 metres long and was cladded with a geometrically patterned cover of Accoya, with recessed diagonal stripes to make it extra slip-resistant in colder periods when ice is likely. An integrated bench that runs along the inside of the bridge has also been made using Accoya allowing visitors to sit, rest and gaze beyond to the Hafrsfjord.

The weather was not the only challenging aspect of the construction of the Stavanger Boardwalk. Due to the landscape and soil conditions in the sea, the team faced the possibility of having to enter the sea to get around a mountain at an area called Håhammaren.

The architectural team designed the largest bridge so that it hovers above the sea, around the mountain and is fixed to the mountain on one side only – minimising the excavation of the rock face, sea floor and risk to the construction team.

Laura Keily, head of marketing for Accsys, the company that manufactures the modified wood, said: “The Stavanger Boardwalk showcases Accoya’s use as an outdoor wood product perfectly. In cases like this, where weather conditions and natural terrain are extreme, Accoya is the ideal choice for cladding and decking. Renowned for its high slip-resistance, low thermal gain and the fact that it is virtually splinter free – Accoya is perfect for a coastal walkway such as this one, designed to accommodate keen walkers, cyclists and joggers looking to tackle a challenging hike and enjoy views of Hafrsfjord safely for decades to come.”

Egil Rosnes, chief executive at Woodlink AS, said: “Since its official opening, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed hiking the new trail from Møllebukta bay to Håhammaren. They have been able to do so without worrying about slipping thanks to the decision to use Accoya.”

Karen Hatleskog Zeiner, lead architect at Multiconsult Norway, said: “Initially we were daunted by the challenging terrain but preserving the natural landscape was paramount. We persevered and are delighted with the result – the integrated bench creates what is essentially an exclusive balcony overlooking the fjord and mountain side.

“The municipality wanted a bridge that was special, a place that would leave an impression and that visitors would remember. From the feedback we’ve received from local residents and visitors walkway, we’re confident we’ve achieved this.”