Creating a Common Data Environment to help deliver the Stockholm Bypass

The Stockholm Bypass is a new motorway link to the west of Stockholm. It will connect Kungens Kurva (E4/E20) in the south and Häggvik (E4) in the north. Building Information Modelling (BIM) played a vital role in the design process of one of the world's most complex tunnelling projects.

A Building Information Model (BIM) view of the new tunnel.
A Building Information Model (BIM) view of the new tunnel.

The project

With an estimated cost of £2.6billion, the motorway will run for around 18km underground. These tunnels will include six interchanges linking with the surface road network. By connecting the northern and southern parts of Stockholm the route will relieve pressure on Essingeleden and inner city routes.

It's expected that the bypass will help contribute to further development in a region that is already growing. The project aims to improve the quality of life for the local population by providing more options to travel by car and public transport, and by increasing the freedom to work and live in more convenient locations.

To put the scale of the Stockholm Bypass into context, it will form one of the longest road tunnels in the world. The ranking will be as follows:

  • Lærdal tunnel, Norway 24.50km
  • Zhongnanshan tunnel, China 18.00km
  • St. Gotthard tunnel, Switzerland 16.90km
  • Stockholm Bypass, Sweden 16.50km
  • Arlberg tunnel, Austria 13.97km
  • Hsuehshan tunnel, Taiwan 12.94km
  • Fréjus tunnel, France/Italy 12.90km
  • Maijishan tunnel, China 12.29km
  • Mt. Blanc tunnel, France/Italy 11.61km
  • Gudvangen tunnel, Norway 11.43km

Largest combined length in the world

Although not the longest road tunnel in the world it will be the largest. The combined length of the twin mainline tunnels will exceed 30km (the longest main line tunnel is 16.5km). To this can be added access ramps (14km), emergency cross passages (4km) and the access tunnels (3km) and the total length is more than 50km.

Work commenced on the planning and scheme development of the current proposals in 2008. On 3rd September 2009 the Swedish government decided to give the motorway project the go-ahead. The government invited tenders for the next phase of the scheme development that would lead to the construction phase.

For the tender in 2010, URS formed a joint venture with ÅF AB for the first of two contracts that comprised the Stockholm Bypass. This involved a major interchange at Akalla/Häggvik together with the rock tunnels. The joint venture was successful. As a result the Tunnel contract (FSK02) and the Akalla/Häggvik Interchange contract (FSK06) were awarded to the URS/ÅF AB joint venture.

The Tunnel contract (FSK02)

The route of the FSK02 element of the E4 Stockholm Bypass starts in the rock tunnels to the north of the Kungens Kurva interchange. It involves underground connection ramps and dedicated bus ramps. It then passes below Lake Mälaren and the island of Lovö, where there is a grade separated underground interchange linking Ekerövägen, (road 261) at Edeby and Tillflykten on the surface.

The main line tunnels continue underground from Lovö to Lunda and pass below Lambarfjärden, Grimsta and Vinsta. At Vinsta, the underground ramps rise to the surface to connect with a new surface interchange. The main line tunnels will continue underground to Lunda, where they will eventually connect on the surface to another construction contract that will comprise a bridge over the Mälarbanan rail line, Bällstaån/Spångaån and the E18 Enköpingsvägen.

The main line returns underground in a 1.8km long tunnel, under Järvafältet, to a point by the junction of Finlandsgatan and Akallalänken which marks the start of FSK06. The E4 Stockholm Bypass over the length of FSK02 will be built with two parallel tunnels with traffic running in one direction per tunnel. Both the tunnels will have three lanes, with four at the interchanges. At its deepest point, the tunnel will be 60m below the surface of Lake Mälaren and almost 100m below ground.

Construction will see 6.5 million m3 of rock excavated from the tunnels. Crushing of the rock will take place underground, before its removed and disposed of. Removal will be via six access tunnels located at strategic points along the route. This is in order not to overload the road network with too much heavy transport. Three temporary ports will also be built, one at Sätra and two on the island of Lovö. These will include five jetties with a combination of floating and roll on/roll off facilities. The rock mass will be transported between the access tunnel and the temporary port on conveyors. From there it will be transported by water to temporary reception points.

The Akalla/Häggvik Interchange contract (FSK06)

The FSK06 contract comprises the Akalla/Häggvik Interchange. This connects to the rock tunnels via a short concrete tunnel that runs under Järvafältet to Akalla through a deep layer of clay and soft soils. At Akalla, a multilevel interchange will be built in the form of an elliptical roundabout with the Stockholm Bypass running below. The continuation to Häggvik will be through a deep rock cutting. This will run the entire length of the Hansta nature reserve.

At Häggvik the new motorway will join the existing E4 motorway. This will mean the construction of new bridges, concrete underpasses/tunnels and retaining walls, as well as the upgrading of existing structures. At the busiest part of the motorway, twenty lanes will carry more than 100,000 vehicles per day. This will need extensive traffic management during construction. In total, some 2.5km of motorway, six bridges and three concrete tunnels will be built.

Following the formal start date of 1st September 2011, the project progressed through three different phases:

  • The Planning phase, which involved the handover and interrogation of the existing preliminary design
  • The Inquiry phase, which allowed supplementary studies and investigations to be undertaken
  • The Design phase, which is now underway

Understanding the challenges and objectives

The Stockholm Bypass sets some unique challenges with respect to Building Information Modelling (BIM). From the outset the client wanted to establish key challenges and objectives that, over the full lifecycle of the project, would increase efficiencies, enhance data integrity and ultimately reduce risk.

The project set various key BIM objectives. These included:

  • Implementation of a Common Data Environment (CDE) for all project stakeholders
  • Creation of intelligent, spatially coordinated, 3D models with meta-data, for all disciplines
  • Continuous review and mark-up process using the latest 3D review technologies
  • Quantities, cost estimation and scheduling driven from an intelligent model base
  • Construction ready/as built design documentation driven from an intelligent model base
  • Asset management from design to construction, operations and maintenance
  • All aspects will be driven using 3D design models with structured object meta-data as the basis

Trafikverket's BIM challenges

The client set a number of BIM challenges for the project to resolve:

  • Formal verification of model and object's quality at delivery
  • Process for model approval and version management
  • Modification and revision of management process
  • Status of models and objects
  • Meta-data/object properties
  • Satellite machine guiding

In the summer of 2011 a series of workshops were held in Stockholm to ensure that a common understanding of the requirements could be achieved.The workshops showed that building an 'information model' that would meet the needs of the entire project lifecycle would need the implementation of a CDE for all project stakeholders.

Previous phases of the project had produced more than 4,000 documents. It's been estimated that by the end of the Design phase more than 20,000 documents would have been created. These alone would generate more than 500,000 meta-data elements requiring management. Over 500 staff from 19 disciplines in 7 countries will create and manage these documents.

Establishing common collaborative practice

For the teams at URS and ÅF AB the implementation of a CDE was seen as the foundation to Building an Information model. Further workshops in Stockholm sought to identify the key ingredients for the CDE and to map out best collaborative practice.

In these discussions URS staff from the United Kingdom highlighted the industry standard collaborative processes identified in BS1192:2007. The Swedish team and client liked many aspects of this Standard and it has now been implemented into the final project solution.

Key requirements for the Common Data Environment included:

  • A single source of truth
  • Common access point for all project design data
  • Data available 24/7, irrelevant of location
  • Ability to locate and verify data, rapidly and easily
  • Ability to geospatially locate documents and CAD models
  • Ability to implement client standards for meta-data and document coding
  • Language, meta-data must display in Swedish and English
  • Implementation of a mandatory approvals process driven by chosen technology
  • Compatibility with Microsoft Office, Autodesk & Bentley document formats

The foundations for building an information model

A key output from the workshops held in 2011 was a BIM strategy report. This set out the scope for the implementation of BIM based on the client's requirements and challenges. It also captured the key processes and workflows mapped out during discussions held at the offices of ÅF AB.

Another output was the adoption of Bentley's ProjectWise suite of technologies as the preferred foundation for the CDE. The technology had been used by URS on major infrastructure projects in the past, inculding Crossrail, and was also well known by Trafikverket.

ProjectWise provides all project stakeholders with the ability to share a 'single source of truth' through a common interface. It met most of the criteria for a CDE, set out in the workshops. It also began to provide answers for many of the client's key BIM challenges and objectives.

Key to choosing ProjectWise was the ability to locate text documents and CAD models in a geospatial context.

ProjectWise provided many key benefits for the project team, including:

  • Provides all key stakeholders with the ability to share a 'single source of truth' through a common interface
  • Allows for the ability to locate textual documents and CAD models in a geospatial context
  • Custom workflows that perform specific actions on documents, and allow for version management as they pass through the approvals workflow
  • Provided for translation of meta-data requirements and document coding from Swedish to English
  • Displayed content through the interface in a dual language format

Further sources

The Trafikverket site provides further details on the project.

The Stockholm bypass Project | the Swedish Transport Administration

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