Mayor Aki Heiskanen expects causeway to open up new opportunities for development on Hailuoto
An 8.4 km-long fixed link consisting of a causeway and bridges will be built between the island of Hailuoto and the city of Oulu in northern Finland. The municipality of Hailuoto welcomes the project with optimism. It will improve transport connections and offer further development opportunities for industry and commerce on the island. Furthermore, the fixed link will make it possible to travel to and from the island at night.
“The most eagerly awaited effect is improved mobility in general. This is particularly important for those not working on Hailuoto, as the connection will make travelling between the island and the mainland smoother and more flexible. A faster connection will save time and make it easier to plan commuting,” says Aki Heiskanen, Mayor of the Municipality of Hailuoto.
The ferry between Hailuoto and Oulu takes about 25 minutes. The design speed of the fixed link is 80 km/h, which will result in travel time of about seven minutes between the island and the mainland.
The outlook for companies that are planning on expanding their business is brighter than ever before.
Increased vibrancy and lower freight costs
The fixed link will open up new opportunities for industry and commerce on Hailuoto and make the island more vibrant.
“The outlook for companies that are planning on expanding their business is brighter than ever before. The fixed connection will make doing business on Hailuoto easier through cheaper, faster and smoother freight transport.”
The ferry mostly operates between 6 am and midnight, whereas the fixed link will make it possible to cross the strait at any time. This will improve islanders’ safety.
The improved transport connections are also expected to boost tourism on the island. The picturesque landscape attracts a significant number of nature tourists every year.
Thanks to the improved access, the municipality also expects its population to see modest growth.
“We plan on investing in population growth through zoning to make it easier to settle here in the future. Until now, people have decided to move here because of the special characteristics of the island.”
Natural environment will be conserved
The marine environment of Hailuoto is particularly beautiful and delicate. Therefore, particular attention was paid to nature when planning the connection.
The planning of the fixed link started as early as the 1980s, and the environmental impact of the fixed link has been studied extensively. A steering group was appointed to monitor the environmental impact of the project, and the link has been planned with the sensitive marine environment in mind to minimise its negative environmental impact both during construction and use.
Aki Heiskanen says this is of primary importance. In his opinion, Hailuoto must also preserve its characteristic authenticity in the future.
“Hailuoto is a very special place. The buildings on the island are well preserved, and its extraordinary nature offers plenty to see and do. Hailuoto has also maintained its quintessential sense of community. Hailuoto fascinates people –myself included!
“These special characteristics of Hailuoto should be preserved as we continue to develop our community and municipality,” Heiskanen says.