Germany and Denmark are building one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world

Germany and Denmark are building one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world

According to current forecasts, the “Fehmarnbelt” underwater tunnel will be inaugurated in 2029, connecting two islands of Germany and Denmark. The project, second only to the Channel Tunnel in terms of length and cost, involves the construction of a combined railway – road.

It will be 18 kilometers long and about 40 meters deep under the seabed of the Baltic Sea. The project cost about seven billion euros and when it is completed in 2029, it will give rise to one of the largest rail-road combined systems in the world: the “Fehmarnbelt” tunnel will connect Germany and Denmark, the two countries that have signed the approval of the project in 2008.

After more than a decade of planning, electoral votes, geotechnical and environmental studies, construction of the underground tunnel began in 2020.

“The expectation is that the first production line will be ready towards the end of the year, or early next year,” Henrik Vincentsen, CEO of Femern A / S, the Danish state-owned company, told CNN on 22 September. project manager – by the beginning of 2024 we must be ready to build the first underwater section of the tunnel “.

The tunnel will be built in the “Fehmarn Belt”, the strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish Island of Lolland (the latter already connected to the rest of Denmark by a bridge), the territories of the two countries that will be united from the tunnel.

The project was born as an alternative to the ferry line from Rødby – Puttgarden, which carries millions of passengers every year. By ferry, the crossing takes approximately 45 minutes. When the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is completed (this is expected to take place by the end of 2029), it will take just ten minutes by car and seven by train.

In addition to the shortened timeframe for travelers, the tunnel is expected to have a positive impact on trucks and freight trains because it “creates a land route between Sweden and Central Europe that will be 160 kilometers shorter than the current one,” according to Jens Ole Kaslund, technical director of Femern A / S.

“Today, if I were to take a train journey from Copenhagen to Hamburg, it would take about four and a half hours. When the tunnel is completed, the same journey will take two and a half hours,” said the Danish company’s representative.

The Fehmarnbelt will be second only to the Channel Tunnel in Europe in terms of length and cost. The latter, inaugurated in 1993, is 50 kilometers long and cost over 13 billion euros. The Channel Tunnel, unlike the Fehmarnbelt, was built thanks to the use of powerful boring machines and not by inserting sections of prefabricated tunnels directly into the marine subsoil. There will be about 89, in total, those who will make up the Fehmarnbelt.