Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022

The new Light Rail (Letbane) in Denmark’s third-largest city Odense will not open until next year. It was scheduled for completion in 2021.

Odense: Light rail in Danish city delayed until 2022
Construction of the light rail in Odense. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The delay was confirmed by transport minister Benny Engelbrecht in a written notification to parliament.

 “The beginning of operations at Odense Letbane will be delayed from September 1st 2021 until around New Year 2021-22,” the statement reads.

“This is because the company [Odense Letbane, ed,] can confirm that the [contractor] cannot live up to agreed schedule for handover of the transport system, apparently as a consequence of Covid-19,” Engelbrecht also wrote.

In a statement, Odense Letbane said that the primary contractor, Comsa, had recently given notice that the development would be delayed.

“We have recently been able to see that it would be more difficult for Comsa to finish in time for the planned opening. We have naturally maintained pressure on Comsa for as long as possible,” Odense Letbane CEO Mogens Hagelskær said in the statement, which was reported by TV2 Fyn.

“But the primary contractor has now presented a new schedule… and we must unfortunately concede that the light rail will not be able to open until around New Year,” Hagelskær added.

Spanish firm Comsa has said that the ongoing situation related to the coronavirus across Europe has resulted in difficulties in supplying labour and materials for the project in Denmark. The company has also had to adapt its working methods, which involve housing labourers in small groups, TV2 Fyn reports.

In 2017, a light rail system in Aarhus opened after also experiencing construction delays.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Denmark could force residents in outbreak area to take Covid-19 tests 

The Danish government could force people in the Vollsmose neighbourhood in third city Odense to take a test for Covid-19, according to newspaper reports.

Denmark could force residents in outbreak area to take Covid-19 tests 
Vollsmose in Odense. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The government could enforce mass testing in the area in order to control a recent local outbreak of the coronavirus, according to newspapers BT and Politiken.

If a person tests positive for the virus, they would required to self-isolate. Non-compliance can be legally penalised by issuing a fine.

Reports of the possible decision emerged on Monday after Politiken reported it had seen a note from the government to the parliamentary epidemic committee. The committee is required to see the government proposal under the recently-passed epidemic law.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s new epidemic law comes into effect

Additionally, BT writes that the public assembly limit in the area could be reduced from the current national restriction of five people down to two people; and that face mask rules could also be tightened.

According to the epidemic law, a health minister can decide to force people to take medical tests and isolate during an epidemic if they have been in a specified area – for example one with “spread of infection with a health-threatening or societally critical” disease.

A number of parties in parliament were reported to have been critical of this clause in the law at the time it was passed. A parliamentary majority would be able to block the proposal and the minority government’s 7 seats on the 21-person epidemic committee is not enough to secure it a majority.

It is unclear how other parties view the proposal with regard to Vollsmose, but the opposition Liberal party leader, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, has expressed opposition to it in a general context.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen last week suggested she could back forced testing during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“For example, if there is an area where not everyone will take a test, to then ensure that the ones who won’t take a test get tested anyway. I’d gladly support that,” she said last week without explicitly stating she would use forced testing.

Vollsmose, located in Denmark’s third-largest city Odense, is one of the most underprivileged areas in the country. It is classed as a “hard ghetto” by the government, which annually defines areas as such based on criteria including the ethnic background, employment status and income of residents.

Broadcaster DR reported earlier on Monday that the number of Covid-19 tests taken in the neighbourhood trebled last week, from 500 in one day on March 1st to 1,519 on Sunday.

The infection rate in the area is now 951.5 per 100,000 residents, according to DR. That puts it some distance ahead of the highest infection rate for any single municipality in the country. The highest municipal infection rate is currently that of Ishøj near Copenhagen, which has 201.2 infections per 100,000 residents for the last week, according to official data.

Vollsmose is part of Odense Municipality, which has an overall incidence rate of 103.3 cases per 100,000 residents for the last 7 days.

Ritzau contributed to this report