An Innovative Floating Bridge for the Norwegian E39 Project.

August 3, 2023

Lecturer: William C. Webster  Emeritus Professor of Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley

Theme: An Innovative Floating Bridge for the Norwegian E39 Project

Time: Aug.5th  10:00-11:00

Place: Chuanhai Building315Meeting Room


William C. Webster is an emeritus Professor of Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.S. degree from Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and his M.S. and Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. After studying at Berkeley, he worked for 7 years in industry before returning to Berkeley to teach in 1969. He retired in 2006. In addition to his role as professor and researcher, he held several important posts at U.C., including Department Chair, Director of the Ship Model Towing Tank, Associate Dean of Engineering for Student Affairs and Research, Vice Provost of Academic Planning and Facilities, and Acting Vice Chancellor of Budget and Finance. Professionally, Prof. Webster has written over 100 important scientific papers and contributed to several books on the subject of Naval Architecture. He has written on a variety of topics including hydrodynamics, hydroelasticity and optimal container ship loading. He was honored by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers with the status of Fellow and was awarded the Davidson Medal for excellence in hydrodynamics. He served on the U.S. National Research Council in several roles, first on the Marine Board as Chair and then for 6 years as a Commissioner on the Commission for Engineering and Technical Systems. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineers and received an honorary doctorate from the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in India. Currently, Prof. Webster is a senior advisor to several universities in Asia and is a technical consultant to both the government of Norway and to clients in the offshore industry.


Norway is planning to build a high-speed highway along its west coast. To build this highway a number of bridges and tunnels are needed to span the many inlets and fjords along the way. One such location is BjØrnafjorden, a fjord close to the city of Bergen. The needed span is about 5 km across and the water is about 500m deep, The site is subject to high winds, waves of up to 5 m high and currents of up to 2 knots. The great length of the crossing and depth of the water makes the usual bridge solution, a suspension bridge, not feasible. After considering several alternatives, the selected design is a pontoon supported floating bridge. This bridge has required the development of new techniques both for design and construction. lt is now anticipated to be finished in about 2030.

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