One of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe was inaugurated today
Underwater tunnel between Germany and Denmark will be a game-changer for Scandinavia, bringing it closer to central Europe
Today, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the European Union to date has been launched on the German island of Fehmarn. The project, an 18-kilometer-long underwater tunnel connecting Germany and Denmark, has been under construction for a few years and will ultimately cost around 10 billion euros.
The ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister of Transport of Schleswig-Holstein Bernd Buchholz and the Danish Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht. Development will prove to be quite difficult, however, and preparatory work on the German and Danish sides has been underway since the start of 2021. The end date of the tunnel is set for 2029.
Trains, but underwater
One of the most impressive features of the Fehmarn tunnel is an electrified two-track railway line, in addition to the six-car tracks. It will stretch from the German island of Fehmarn, near the town of Puttgarden, to the Danish Rødbyhavn on the island of Lolland.
Once the large-scale project is completed, a train ride from Hamburg to Copenhagen is expected to take less than three hours, compared to just under five hours currently. In addition, the project is part of the EU’s overall transport vision for the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor.
The corridor begins at the southern tip of Italy and ends in Helsinki, passing through all Scandinavian capitals. This initiative should help further integration and bring the northernmost parts of the central bloc closer together.
Cars will only need 10 minutes to pass through the tunnel at a speed limit of 110 km / h, while trains will be limited to 200 km / h and will take a total of 7 minutes. The entire tunnel will be built using 79 prefabricated parts.
The project costs the Danish government 7.1 billion euros and an additional 3.5 billion for the German government. According to initial analyzes, the tunnel should have paid for itself by generating cumulative income in less than 30 years.
After construction began, a conservation organization called Nabu filed a complaint against the project because the planned route crossed 36 hectares of reef that will inevitably be destroyed. The courts have nevertheless given the green light.
According to the project’s website, around 15 million cubic meters of sand and soil will be dredged from the seabed. Part of the materials will be used for construction, another part will be used for the creation of new natural and recreational areas, in an attempt to compensate for the damage.