GRK has upgraded infrastructure at Äänekoski by almost 100 million

More than four years ago, GRK won its first infra contracts for the Metsä-Fibre bio-product plant. Subsequently, the company has performed a succession of contracts in the factory area itself, and on the routes serving the traffic of the Äänekoski region. In August, the first of the major route contracts will be completed. It includes a four-kilometre stretch of improvements on highways 4 and 13, as well as three bridges of concrete and one arch bridge of steel.

“We managed to open this demanding road section to traffic already last November. After the winter break, we have performed finishing works, including the last stone mastic asphalt (SMA) pavement layer”, says Markku Hokkanen, GRK Project Manager.

Hokkanen gives full recognition to the close cooperation with the client. He also thanks his own work team, which over the years has remained almost unchanged. The subcontracting partners have also stayed more or less the same in all the GRK contracts performed so far in the Äänekoski region.

Opening up the improved Huutomäki highway section to traffic ahead of time was an important achievement for both ordinary motorists and heavy-duty professional carriers, which account for more than a tenth of the daily traffic volume of 12,000 vehicles. The contract schedule was optimized by sticking closely to the mass balance planned at the bidding stage. It was fully realized in practice: not a single cubic metre had to be transported from the site.

“It was possible to adjust the road line within certain limits to achieve the mass balance. Thanks to our design-and-build contract, we could influence the design, to optimize the implementation”, says Hokkanen.

Several jobs running in Äänekoski

In the second routing project south of Äänekoski, GRK will improve the functionality of vehicle traffic and, in particular, the freight traffic for the biomaterial factory at the Tärttämäki section. The construction of a 220 m long waterways bridge at Tärttämäki is the biggest technical challenge in this contract, to be delivered by the end of August 2020. This summer will witness the reinforcement, casting and insulation of the unusually shaped deck of this challenging bridge.

The total amount of the Huutomäki and Tärttämäki contracts is approximately EUR 45 million, almost as much as GRK’s total contracts for the biotech plant.

“This summer we will perform paving work for Metsä Fibre in their factory area. We will also finalize the street works commissioned by the Äänekoski city and the Äänekoski energy works”, says Markku Hokkanen.

In mid-July, the so-called Kieppi area works will be completed. They include 600 meters of street construction and 600 meters of routes for light traffic. The excavation works will be done in extremely rocky soil, causing its own challenges to the time schedule.

Markku Hokkanen has consolidated GRK’s position as a trusted contractor for the biotechnology plant and the associated infrastructural tasks. The Finnish Transport Agency will continue to invest heavily in the region. In the autumn, bidding will start for the contract of the VT4 Kirri-Tikkakoski road section.


Photo: The Huutomäki infrastructural contract will be completed in August.