With a length of 3,2 kilometres, The Storstrom Bridge (Danish: Storstrømsbroen) connecting Zealand with Falster is the third longest bridge in Denmark, after The Great Belt Bridge and The Oresund Bridge. But it is also one of the oldest Danish bridges, opened back in 1937. And for quite some years, it was the longest road bridge in Europe.
The Storstrom Bridge is both carrying car traffic and rail traffic across Storstrømmen, the water that separates Zealand from Falster. But in fact, The Storstrom Bridge “only” connects the little island of Masnedø with Falster. Another bridge, The Masnedø Bridge, complete the connection between Masnedø and Zealand– even though that The Masnedø Bridge is only 201 meter long. However, The Masnedø Bridge can be opened, so that ships, that need to pass through the small sound of Masnedsund, can do so.
The Storstrom Bridge consists of no less than 49 piers and 50 spans, including the three arches in the middle, which gives the bridge its characteristics. The width of the sailing passage under the biggest of the three arches is 136 meters, while the clearance from sea level to the bridge is 26 meters.
The bridge is straight as an arrow almost all the way across Storstrømmen, but the last 300 meters, the north end of the bridge curves quite a bit, before hitting land at Masnedø. For the same reason, your best shot of getting photos of The Storstrom Bridge, is from the little parking area, right before you leave Masnedø, when you are going south.
The railway across The Storstrom Bridge is the main line between Copenhagen and Hamburg/ Berlin in Germany. However, there is only one rail track on The Storstrom Bridge, and lately (November 2011) the bridge was closed in almost a month because of cracks in the bridge’s steel construction. And since rail traffic is expected to increase when the new Femern Link Connection becomes a reality in 2020, a new rail connection across Storstrømmen is being discussed.
In 1985, The Faroe Bridge opened, talking over the leading role for car traffic between Zealand and islands of Falster and Lolland. The motorway across The Faroe Bridge, E47/ E55, is connecting Copenhagen with the ferries to Germany, Rødby-Puttgarden and Gedser-Rostock.
The little island of Masnedø has its own interesting story to tell. Because of Masnedø strategic position right between Zealand and Falster, it was decided to build a fort on Masnedø in 1912, which was ready for use in 1915. However, the fort was more or less taken out of military alert in 1932. So from then on, the military staff on the Fort of Masnedø only consisted of very few people.
However, when the German forces occupied Denmark on 9th of April 1940, the Germans was so determined to get control over The Storstrom Bridge, that they disembarked no less than 80 parachute troopers on Masnedø to secure the bridge and the fort. Masnedø was the only location in Denmark, where German parachute troops were used during the events on the 9th of April 1940.
But there were only three persons on duty on The Fort of Masnedø on the morning of April the 9th 1940, and they didn’t even have any ammunition to their weapons. So the German intelligence must have been a bit “rusty”, when planning the attack. In the summertime, it is possible to visit The Fort of Masnedø, when the former military buildings on the site are open for art exhibitions.
By Henrik Lange, Highways-Denmark.com
Photo: Henrik Lange