Flying into the wild

James O'Sullivan


A durable footbridge was required to connect the riverbanks of a mountain waterfall by a popular hiking route not accessible by road.


The lightweight bridge was pre-assembled using Outokumpu Forta duplex stainless steel and then flown-in by helicopter, with the end result blending in with its surroundings and needing only little maintenance.


Steel grade: Outokumpu Forta LDX 210

The popular 25 kilometer hiking track from Nystølen to Eldal weaves its way through picture-perfect terrain in western Norway. The centerpiece of this journey is the 79-foot-long Likholefossen bridge. Set against the backdrop of the Gaularfjellet Mountains, this stainless steel suspended thoroughfare deftly spans the edge of a thunderous waterfall.

According to the Tourist Routes Section of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, here hikers can enjoy a close encounter with the power of Mother Nature, especially when the Gaula River beneath is running high: “For many people the bridge over the Likholefossen waterfall is a highlight, since it provides a feeling of being in the midst of the swirling cascade.”


Travelling light

The fact that the bridge is inaccessible by road means that it offers visitors an experience that is truly detached from the bustle of daily life. However, this lack of vehicle accessibility proved to be a significant challenge to overcome last decade when figuring out how to successfully connect the two sides of the riverbank.

The solution came by utilizing lightweight Outokumpu Forta duplex stainless steel. Forta LDX 2101 boasts a high yield strength, which in turn facilitates the creation of lighter weight constructions than in traditional bridge design. This created the possibility that the bridge could be pre-assembled and then flown-in by helicopter to the site. Which is exactly what was done.


Decades of durability

There was also another reason that Forta LDX 2101 stainless steel was selected for the project: durability. The relatively isolated location of the bridge, along with its constant exposure to the nature’s elements, meant that corrosion resistance was paramount.

Nowadays, over ten years later, the footbridge remains functional, pleasant on the eye and requires little maintenance. Importantly, it stands as a shining example of how stainless steel can also successfully interact with natural surrounds, far away from the urban environment it is commonly found in. The Likholefossen bridge has well and justly become an impressive feature of the landscape.

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