Vantaa light rail travels over half a kilometer in a tunnel under Tikkurila
Sitowise is tasked with planning the middle part through Tikkurila center and railway station.
Vantaa is currently planning its own light rail, which will improve the city’s transverse connections. The light rail travels most of the way in a tunnel built into the rock.
Vantaa’s new comprehensive plan (2020) guides the city’s growth along sustainable public transport routes such as the planned light rail. It is estimated that about 37,000 people will live in the area extending from East Vantaa to the airport in 30 years’ time. The over 19-kilometer-long light rail has been divided into three planning areas.
It’s possible to utilize the soil material generated by the tunnel site in other city construction projects.
Director Ari Savolainen, Sitowise
– We’re responsible for planning the Tikkurila section between the easternmost and westernmost parts, says Sitowise project lead Juha Väätäinen. He has extensive experience from street and rail projects, which have never covered so many challenging areas of expertise like now. – The light rail will be located in the middle of a dense urban environment, which means that the construction will require the utmost precision in phasing as well as adapting to existing structures.
Firstly, the previous phase’s comprehensive plan and reports regarding the 1.6 km area will be reviewed. This ensures that the baseline information is adequate, and that the structural solutions work. – We are aiming for the most cost-effective total solution with proper buildability and minimized risks, Väänänen highlights.
The planning area begins from Kielotie in western Tikkurila. – Street and rail planning is rather straightforward on the overground sections, says Ari Savolainen, the director of Sitowise’s Bridges and infrastructure unit. The most important thing is to control the frame noise and vibration, so that the light rail doesn’t impair the area’s living conditions or the pleasantness of its parks.
The construction will require the utmost precision in phasing as well as adapting to existing structures.
Project lead Juha Väätäinen, Sitowise
The real challenges begin at Asematie, where the light rail dives into a tunnel more than half a kilometer long. The demanding ground conditions vary along the way, as the tunnel runs past buildings such as Tikkupark, and goes under the heavy traffic Tikkurila railway yard and Dixi shopping center.
– The tunnel will be mined below groundwater level to a depth of 6 to 12 meters, which means that buildings have to be supported, and the loads need to be directed in a controlled manner to the ground, Savolainen notes. The planning requires multidisciplinary expertise and mastering various types of technologies, from lighting to air conditioning to water and sanitation. – The tunnel will have several exits as well as escalators and elevators leading to the platforms.
Tikkurila is one of the most important intersections in the Helsinki metropolitan area. While designing the new light rail, the aim is to also promote sustainable mobility in a comprehensive and responsible manner. – That’s why the tunnel elements have an operational lifetime of at least 100 years, Savolainen says.
The project aims for circular economy as well. During planning, specialists at Sitowise conduct a regional study of the surplus masses, land resources, and material requirements created by construction. – In addition to the light rail, it’s possible to utilize the soil material generated by the tunnel site in other city construction projects, Savolainen says.
The tunnel elements have an operational lifetime of at least 100 years.
Director Ari Savolainen, Sitowise
The Vantaa light rail is a natural extension of Sitowise’s other sustainable mobility projects. – We’re part of the Crown Bridges and the Jokeri Light Rail, to name a few. In Vantaa, we’re utilizing the expertise we’ve gained from different projects of planning structures for tunnels, railways, and street infrastructure.