Future- proofing a Swedish waterfront
Walkway and flood protection
For several years, Uddevalla has had problems with flooding from the Bäveån River due to rising sea levels and heavy rain. To future-proof the city and save the attractive environments along the water, they studied how a walkway with flood protection could be built – work that has proven to be challenging.
Uddevalla is low-lying and is hit by flooding several times a year. The goal of the project is to protect the city while developing Uddevalla and create an attractive environment with places for our residents to meet
– Christine Gunnarsson, one of two project managers at Uddevalla Municipality.
More downpours and rising sea levels in the future
Sweco has worked on the project since 2018, including studying appropriate levels of protection, heavy rain and groundwater, and construction of flood protection and walkways.
Janette Jönsson heads up the project for Sweco and describes its challenges: “Flood protection doesn’t stop the sea from coming into the city, but it does encapsulate the water that comes from downpours. We’ll be seeing more downpours and rising sea levels in the future, which means that the city must be protected from both. Placement of flood barriers, openings in the barriers to accommodate downpours and planning pumping stations require a lot of planning and will require diversion of all types of lines. At the same time, large parts of the area are built on fill and there are big problems with stability and settlement, which makes it difficult to build both underground and on the surface.”
During the study phase, facts were gathered about how much water from regular and heavy rainfall could be expected and what the consequences would be, while the level of flood protection was estimated from the expected rise in sea level and the life span of the constructions.
The project team credits a successful collaboration with the Uddevalla Municipality and experts from Sydväst and Bohusgeo, as key to the shared goals and implemented solutions.
Common vision and coordinated efforts key to project success
“It’s been critical for us to have a common vision that we have continued to discuss throughout the study, so everyone knows where we’re heading. There are many different areas of engineering involved and I have great respect for Janette’s efforts to coordinate it all,” said Jonas Sand, project manager at Uddevalla Municipality.
“Highly competent experts have worked on this assignment and they have had a free hand in solving the problems we face, but at the same time, all solutions have to work together, so the municipality’s vision is an important part of the puzzle,” said Jönsson.
“What first felt like a long list of unsurmountable challenges has become a solution that works and I’m very proud of the results. It has been a team effort and I’m happy to have been involved all the way to the goal,” said Sand.
The next step is applying for the required permits so the project group can continue working with the solutions it has developed.