Obama to ‘shut down’ Öresund Bridge

Obama to 'shut down' Öresund Bridge
Even though US president Barack Obama isn't setting foot in Sweden, his planned visit to Copenhagen on Friday is expected to cause headaches for Malmö-area businesses and commuters.

The Öresund Bridge Consortium announced on Tuesday that the bridge, which carries both rail and road traffic between Malmö and Copenhagen, will be closed during the morning rush hour and at lunchtime on Friday in conjunction with Obama’s visit to the Danish capital.

The decision to shut down the major traffic artery at one of the busiest times of the day confounded Henrik Andersson, a representative for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Southern Sweden (Sydsvenska Industri- och Handelskammaren)

“It will cause a lot of problems,” he told The Local.

“I find it peculiar that they are shutting the bridge down. A lot of people will have to adjust their schedules.”

And representatives of Skånetrafiken, the organization charged with managing public transportation in the area, were also frustrated that they only received word a few days ahead of the expected closure.

“We were….surprised. Let’s put it like that,” said spokesperson Ulrika Mebeius.

“Nobody had informed us or our colleagues at the Swedish Rail Administration.”

Skånetrafiken is now scrambling to come up with alternate arrangements for Swedish travellers who need to make their way to Denmark on Friday morning.

Andersson added that he expected the closing of the bridge to have a negative impact on area businesses.

“There are also going to be problems for many business travellers who will be unable to reach their flights on time,” he said.

Obama is making a quick visit to Copenhagen to lobby the Internal Olympic Committee to choose his adopted home town of Chicago as a host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

During the hours of 7.30am to 8.30am no trains or cars will be allowed across the bridge as the US president is whisked from Copenhagen’s Kastrup airport to the Bella Centre conference facilities where the meetings are taking place.

Traffic across the Öresund Bridge will again be shut down from 11.30am to 12.30pm, as Obama returns to the airport.

However, the Öresund Consortium added that the times are subject to change in accordance with the presidential schedule.

Skånetrafiken is currently working to notify Swedish passengers about the closing of the bridge in hopes of minimizing the impact of the closure.

Information will also be continuously updated via signs, the Öresund Bridge website, as well as through a mobile phone text messaging service

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