The Crown Bridges Light Rail will connect Laajasalo, Korkeasaari and Kalasatama to Helsinki city centre. It will also provide a new seaside route for cyclists and pedestrians.
The goal is to start carrying passengers between Laajasalo and Hakaniemi in 2027. The construction schedule for the section between Hakaniemi and the city centre has not yet been decided. In addition to this, the implementation of the ‘Yliskylä loop’ in Laajasalo is being researched.
The Crown Bridges Light Rail will be implemented by combining two types of contracts: The two bridges between Kalasatama and Kruunuvuorenranta, i.e. the Finkensilta and Kruunuvuorensilta bridges, as well as the earthworks in Korkeasaari, will be implemented under a single contract. The rest of the construction will be implemented through the alliance model.
The alliance will also include other earthworks, street construction and municipal engineering works. One of these is the construction of the new Hakaniemensilta Bridge and the demolition of the old bridge.
The projects outside the Crown Bridges project and its budget include the railcar purchases of Helsinki City Transport and a hybrid block planned for Laajasalo, which would include residential buildings and a railcar depot under them.
The parties involved in the Crown Bridges Alliance are the City of Helsinki, YIT Suomi Oy, NRC Group Finland Oy, Ramboll Finland Oy, Sweco Infra & Rail Oy and Sitowise Oy. The contractors for the overall Crown Bridges contract are YIT Suomi Oy and Kreate Oy.
The primary objective of the Crown Bridges project is to provide a quick and reliable transport connection from the growing Laajasalo area to the centre of the city.
The Crown Bridges light rail connection will ensure smooth traffic both inside and in and out of Laajasalo during a period which will see the area’s population more than double thanks to the completion of a wholly new residential district, Kruunuvuorenranta, and considerable infill development. The project will also enable significantly improved transport connections to and from Korkeasaari.
A direct light rail connection between the city centre and Laajasalo will also decrease the congestion projected for the eastern branches of the metro system.
In addition to the light rail connection, the Crown Bridges project will also make the Kalasatama, Korkeasaari, Mustikkamaa and Laajasalo areas accessible by bicycle or on foot, as the light rail line will be bordered by a high-quality bicycle route/walkway.
Thanks to the project, the shortest way from Kruunuvuorenranta to the Central Railway Station, which is currently 11 km and runs via Itäväylä, will decrease to just 5.5 km.
The City of Helsinki aims to increase sustainable transport’s share of all passenger traffic. The Crown Brides project will promote sustainable transport by creating new routes for walkers, bicyclists and public transport. This will increase their combined share of all traffic moving inside the city.
Construction began in autumn 2021.
In August 2021, Helsinki City Council decided about raising the maximum price of the project’s light rail section.
The City selected the contractor for the total contract in spring 2021. The contract was awarded to a consortium of YIT Suomi Oy and Kreate Oy.
The Alliance, which was selected as the implementer of the light rail section in late 2019, started a development phase in which the City Of Helsinki and the companies that won the tendering planned the final content and implementation of the alliance entity and defined its target costs and incentive system.
A decision to implement the project was reached by Helsinki City Council in August of 2016.
In 2011–2013, the city organised the Kalasatama–Kruunuvuorenranta transport connection design competition.
Out of an initial 52 applications, 10 work groups were chosen for the competition proper. Once the dust had settled, first prize went to Gemma Regalis, a proposal designed by WSP Finland Ltd and Knight Architects Ltd.
The competition’s jury was specifically looking for a solution that would best suit the area’s demanding landscape and take into account its rich cultural history. The jury paid special attention to the usability and durability aspects and aesthetic qualities of each proposal.
The transport connection had already been included in the general plan of 2002, while a City Council decision reached in 2008 added specifications which mandated its development as a light rail connection.
A broad range of options aimed at connecting the centre and Laajasalo by means of quick public transport has been considered over the years. A light rail running on multiple bridges emerged as the solution that best achieves the project’s goals.