Hailuoto is located approximately 50 kilometres from Oulu, and it is the largest island in the Bothnian Bay. The distance between the island and the mainland is approximately seven kilometres. Hailuoto is a municipality in its own right and the only archipelagic municipality in Northern Ostrobothnia. There is currently a ferry service between Riutunkari in Oulu and Huikku on Hailuoto.
Background to the project
Hailuoto is accessed by a regional road (No 816), which begins in Kempele, passes through Oulunsalo and the municipal centre of Hailuoto and ends in the western part of Hailuoto in Marjaniemi. The route also includes a 6.9-kilometre ferry crossing, which takes approximately 25 minutes. Depending on ice conditions, the road manager also maintains an ice road between the island and the mainland in the winter. Approximately 60% of journeys originating on Hailuoto are estimated to have Oulu as their destination.
The ferry schedule and lack of night-time transport make Hailuoto less accessible than the rest of the region. The ferry service is not meeting its economic objectives, and its annual operating and maintenance costs amount to approximately EUR 5.8 million. Continuing to operate the ferry service would require investments in new ferries and more services over the next few years.
Objectives and benefits of the causeway
The causeway will improve Hailuoto’s national and regional accessibility and make travelling to Hailuoto easier. It will enable better passenger and goods transport links to the island and local businesses. The causeway will also widen the area where Hailuoto residents can look for work.
The causeway will make Hailuoto equal with other municipalities in the Oulu region in terms of transport. The planned capacity of the causeway is also able to accommodate a considerably greater increase in transport volumes than forecast. The causeway enables meeting the objectives set for private and public transport, logistics and pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Funding was secured for the project in the autumn of 2017, and the plan is to implement the project in accordance with the PPP model. The road plan was completed in April 2018. The procedure outlined in the Finnish Highways Act was initiated after the completion of the road plan.
The procedure involves requesting opinions on the road plan from the City of Oulu and the Municipality of Hailuoto as well as various stakeholders. Before giving their opinions, the City of Oulu and the Municipality of Hailuoto will make the road plan available to the public (in May 2018) to allow local residents and businesses to familiarise themselves with the finished plans and also to lodge objections.
The Finnish Transport Agency will decide on the fate of the project once all opinions and objections have been reviewed.
The project is socioeconomically viable. The project’s benefit-cost ratio is 1.64, which is the factor by which the money invested in the project will be returned to society through the benefits achieved.
Impacts of the project
The aim has been to design the causeway to fit in with its surroundings as well as possible. A wide range of new environmental surveys and flow modelling were carried out and previous studies consulted during the planning process. The area’s vulnerable ecosystem has been taken into account in the designs. The challenging sea conditions were also factored into the structural solutions.
Costs of the causeway
The cost estimate for the construction works is approximately EUR 73.5 million. The project is socioeconomically viable. The project’s benefit-cost ratio is 1.64, which is the factor by which the money invested in the project will be returned to society through the benefits achieved.
The current ferry service is not meeting its economic objectives, and its annual operating and maintenance costs amount to approximately EUR 5.8 million. Continuing to operate the ferry service would require investments in new ferries and more services over the next few years.
The ferry service causes businesses on Hailuoto to incur extra expenses in the form of logistics costs, for example. The ferry service also makes businesses located on Hailuoto less competitive.