Denmark and Germany now constructing the world’s longest immersed tunnel

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(CNN) — Descending as much as 40 meters beneath the Baltic Sea, the world’s longest immersed tunnel will hyperlink Denmark and Germany, slashing journey instances between the 2 international locations when it opens in 2029.

After greater than a decade of planning, building began on the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel in 2020 and within the months since a short lived harbor has been accomplished on the Danish aspect. It should host the manufacturing unit that may quickly construct the 89 large concrete sections that may make up the tunnel.

“The expectation is that the primary manufacturing line can be prepared across the finish of the 12 months, or starting of subsequent 12 months,” stated Henrik Vincentsen, CEO of Femern A/S, the state-owned Danish firm answerable for the venture. “By the start of 2024 we’ve to be able to immerse the primary tunnel aspect.”

The tunnel, which can be 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) lengthy, is considered one of Europe’s largest infrastructure tasks, with a building funds of over 7 billion euros ($7.1 billion).

By means of comparability, the 50-kilometer (31-mile) Channel Tunnel linking England and France, accomplished in 1993, value the equal of £12 billion ($13.6 million) in right now’s cash. Though longer than the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, the Channel Tunnel was made utilizing a boring machine, fairly than by immersing pre-built tunnel sections.

Will probably be constructed throughout the Fehmarn Belt, a strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, and is designed as a substitute for the present ferry service from Rødby and Puttgarden, which carries tens of millions of passengers yearly. The place the crossing now takes 45 minutes by ferry, it would take simply seven minutes by prepare and 10 minutes by automobile.

The roof of the primary manufacturing corridor the place the tunnel sections can be in-built Denmark was accomplished on June 8, 2022.

Femern A/S

Quicker journey

The tunnel, whose official title is Fehmarnbelt Fastened Hyperlink, can even be the longest mixed street and rail tunnel anyplace on the earth. It should comprise two double-lane motorways — separated by a service passageway — and two electrified rail tracks.

“Immediately, when you had been to take a prepare journey from Copenhagen to Hamburg, it might take you round 4 and a half hours,” says Jens Ole Kaslund, technical director at Femern A/S, the state-owned Danish firm answerable for the venture. “When the tunnel can be accomplished, the identical journey will take two and a half hours.

“Immediately lots of people fly between the 2 cities, however sooner or later will probably be higher to simply take the prepare,” he provides. The identical journey by automobile can be round an hour quicker than right now, taking into consideration time saved by not lining up for the ferry.

Apart from the advantages to passenger trains and vehicles, the tunnel could have a optimistic influence on freight vehicles and trains, Kaslund says, as a result of it creates a land route between Sweden and Central Europe that can be 160 kilometers shorter than right now.

In the intervening time, site visitors between the Scandinavian peninsula and Germany through Denmark can both take the ferry throughout the Fehmarnbelt or an extended route through bridges between the islands of Zealand, Funen and the Jutland peninsula.

Work begins

The venture dates again to 2008, when Germany and Denmark signed a treaty to construct the tunnel. It then took over a decade for the mandatory laws to be handed by each international locations and for geotechnical and environmental influence research to be carried out.

Whereas the method accomplished easily on the Danish aspect, in Germany quite a few organizations — together with ferry firms, environmental teams and native municipalities — appealed in opposition to the approval of the venture over claims of unfair competitors or environmental and noise issues.

Dredging works started off the German coast in the fall of 2021.

Dredging works began off the German coast within the fall of 2021.

Femern A/S

In November 2020 a federal courtroom in Germany dismissed the complaints: “The ruling got here with a set of circumstances, which we type of anticipated and we had been ready for, on how we monitor the setting whereas we’re setting up, on issues like noise and sediment spill. I consider that we actually must guarantee that the influence on the setting is as little as potential,” says Vincentsen.

Now the non permanent harbor on the Danish website is completed, a number of different phases on the venture are underway, together with the digging of the particular trench that may host the tunnel, in addition to building of the manufacturing unit that may construct the tunnel sections. Every part can be 217 meters lengthy (roughly half the size of the world’s largest container ship), 42 meters huge and 9 meters tall. Weighing in at 73,000 metric tons every, they are going to be as heavy as greater than 13,000 elephants.

“We could have six manufacturing strains and the manufacturing unit will encompass three halls, with the primary one now 95% full,” says Vincentsen. The sections can be positioned simply beneath the seabed, about 40 meters beneath sea degree on the deepest level, and moved into place by barges and cranes. Positioning the sections will take roughly three years.

A wider influence

As much as 2,500 individuals will work instantly on the development venture, which has been impacted by the worldwide provide chain woes.

“The provision chain is a problem in the meanwhile, as a result of the value of metal and different uncooked supplies has elevated. We do get the supplies we want, however it’s tough and our contractors have needed to enhance the variety of suppliers to verify they’ll get what they want. That is one of many issues that we’re actually watching proper now, as a result of a gradual provide of uncooked supplies is essential,” says Vincentsen.

Michael Svane of the Confederation of Danish Trade, considered one of Denmark’s largest enterprise organizations, believes the tunnel can be useful to companies past Denmark itself.

This full-scale trial cast of a tunnel element was built in July 2022.

This full-scale trial forged of a tunnel aspect was in-built July 2022.

Femern A/S

“The Fehmarnbelt tunnel will create a strategic hall between Scandinavia and Central Europe. The upgraded railway switch means extra freight transferring from street to rail, supporting a climate-friendly technique of transport. We contemplate cross-border connections a device for creating development and jobs not solely regionally, but additionally nationally,” he tells CNN.

Whereas some environmental teams have expressed issues in regards to the influence of the tunnel on porpoises within the Fehmarn Belt, Michael Løvendal Kruse of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation thinks the venture could have environmental advantages.

“As a part of the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, new pure areas and stone reefs on the Danish and German sides can be created. Nature wants house and there can be extra space for nature in consequence,” he says.

“However the greatest benefit would be the profit for the local weather. Quicker passage of the Belt will make trains a powerful challenger for air site visitors, and cargo on electrical trains is by far one of the best resolution for the setting.”

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