Norway’s highest bridge, in Audnadalen, planned nicely to fit in the landscape. Artist: Wichada Treepoonpon, Sweco Norge.

E39 Mandal – Lyngdal øst

Norway’s highest bridge, in Audnadalen, planned nicely to fit in the landscape. Artist: Wichada Treepoonpon, Sweco Norge.

BREEAM Infrastructure Excellent sustainability rating (79.2%) – Design Award

Version 6, 2023 | Norway

Assessors: Jannike Gry Jensen, Sweco Norge AS
Verifier: Catherine Pinney, CERES Associates
Designers:Sweco Norge AS
Client: Nye Veier

Project / Contract summary

Nye Veier AS have, in collaboration with Sweco Norge AS, planned a new four-lane motorway from Mandal River through Lindesnes municipality to Herdal in Lyngdal municipality. The project is located in Agder county, central south in Norway. Dimensioning speed limit was set at 110 km/h.

The project so far includes detailed planning of approximately 25 kilometers of four-lane motorway, two major intersections with crossover bridges and supply roads, major bridges crossing the ecologically important Audna and Mandal rivers, as well as three tunnels and other types of structures, like wildlife crossing constructions and structures for crossing waterways.

The new E39 Mandal – Lyngdal east will, when built, reduce travelling time with approximately 13 minutes, improve traffic safety and tie together the housing and employment markets in the region more closely.

Red deer with calf, wildlife camera. Photo, Kurt Jerstad
Red deer with calf, wildlife camera. Photo, Kurt Jerstad

Has BREEAM Infrastructure represented value for money?

Yes, the use of BREEAM Infrastructure has improved our attention to documentation of what we do and the choices we make. In addition, we have become more aware of the importance of a more interdisciplinary cooperation during evaluation and planning. Using BREEAM Infrastructure also helps us to improve our sustainability performance, reduce carbon emissions, and improve stakeholder engagement.

aquatic surveys of potentially affected waterways
Aquatic surveys of potentially affected waterways



During the zoning plan process, comprehensive surveys of biodiversity have been carried out, to locate the least harmful route for the motorway as well as identifying effective mitigating measures. Especially aquatic surveys and mapping the movement of wildlife to reduce the barrier effect of the motorway has been important.

These actions resulted in close to 88 % score in the category Land use and Ecology.

Carbon emissions

A carbon budget (quantification of sources) for the zoning plan route (project) has been developed and compared to a baseline route from an earlier planning phase. During the planning process there was a general societal shift in the awareness about emissions from land use changes, especially from bogs and wetlands. This resulted in a more detailed assessment of volumes impacted and carbon potential in the relevant wetlands. It also resulted in a separate R&D-project focused on mitigating measures when building through wetlands can’t be avoided.

An Excel tool to calculate the cost for different alternatives and the associated carbon emissions was developed during optimization of the project. It should be noted that these tools and carbon results were not explicitly used as a basis (parameter) when deciding on alternatives but were used for raising awareness about carbon impact from different road pathways on a more general level. Many carbon reduction measures have been part of the top priorities in finding the best alternative pathway. Measures such as achieving a mass balance in general, reducing the total need for cutting and filling, and minimizing the need for constructions (tunnels, bridges, culverts) all contribute to reduce carbon footprint. On the other side, crossing wetland areas increases the calculated emissions. In total, the efforts resulted in a 100 % score in the categories Reducing whole life carbon emissions and Energy use.

Stakeholder engagement

During the planning process an extensive job has been done to manage and keep a good stakeholder engagement during the pandemic. As a result, the project developed a new web-based solution for access to project information as well as the possibility to give georeferenced feedback online. As far as possible, the project also paid significant attention the public interest by conducting open information meetings (both online and physical), as well as meetings with different stakeholders and organizations. These actions resulted in a 100 % score in the category Communities and Stakeholders.


With a large project like this, with more than 40 streams, rivers, and lakes, it is difficult to avoid all temporary pollution during construction. As such, during the planning process significant work has been done in order to avoid affecting the most valuable waterways, and also set requirements for mitigating measures. All potentially affected waterways (streams, rivers, and lakes) were monitored for one year during the planning process.

We have also done significant work to avoid noise and nuisance for neighbours.

These actions resulted in a 100 % score in the category Pollution.

Further information

What were the main challenges for the project / contract and how were these overcome?

Finding good solutions to fit the motorway into the landscape, avoiding nuisance to residential- and agricultural areas, and protecting cultural heritage assets has been central objectives in the project. Consequently, the road had to cross through forested or wetland areas, partly including locations of high ecological value. The project made efforts to reduce encroachment in these areas, but some conflicts could not be avoided.

Underwater surveys Mandal River Photo Sweco Norge
Underwater surveys, Mandal River, Photo Sweco Norge

What elements of this project / contract highlight best practice and innovation?

The development of a georeferenced web portal to keep stakeholders and neighbours informed of the project and enabling them to give feedback during the difficult times of the pandemic.

Open office day Lindesnes
Open office day Lindesnes


BREEAM Infrastructure has made clear the need to work multidisciplinary with sustainability. At the same time, we are pleased to see that Norwegian legislation and practice largely meet the requirements set out in the certification.

Håkon Lohne, Project Manager Plan, Nye Veier.

Project manager Håkon Lohne, Nye Veier
Project manager Håkon Lohne, Nye Veier

The experiences from using BREEAM Infrastructure have shown us that we have the potential to have an even greater focus on sustainable solutions as part of the planning process. Although we have worked continuously with sustainable solutions in this type of planning process, BREEAM Infrastructure has helped us to increase our focus on documenting thoughts, ideas, choices and solutions. We learn from this and will take it with us in future planning processes.

Karl Arne Hollingsholm, Project Manager, Sweco Norge

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