The Significance of ANOTHER BIG TUNNEL

THE WORLD’S LONGEST ROAD/RAIL TUNNEL: Fehmarnbelt Underwater Link between Denmark and Germany

Reference past article

Denmark yesterday approved constructing a high-technology sea tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt — the 18-kilometer strait between Germany and Denmark — at a cost of over 5 Billion Euros (or $6.5 Billion).

Travel times from Hamburg to Copenhagen will be dramatically reduced after completion over the next decade, with Denmark taking a big step forward towards realizing one of the biggest public infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Europe.

At a speed of 110 km per hour, this project will offer motorists a journey time of approximately 10 minutes through the tunnel. For freight and passenger train, the journey will take seven minutes from coast to coast.

The rail journey from Hamburg to Copenhagen, which currently takes around four and a half hours, would be shortened by one hour. The same applies to the driving time between the two cities, which also takes about four hours at the moment.

Tunnel construction is set to begin in 2014 for a planned opening in 2020. The transit passage consists of three tunnels: two containing a four-lane highway and a third one with two train tracks.

Currently, the stretch between Rødby in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany, north of Hamburg, has only been served by ferry.

Longest Tunnel of Its Kind

Fehmarn Belt, a strait in the Baltic Sea between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, where the tunnel will be built.

What Denmark plans to build across this 18-kilometer (11-mile) stretch of water is the world’s longest underwater tunnel that utilizes the “immersed tube method,” three times the length of the Trans-Bay Tube Bart Tunnel in San Francisco, which is currently the world’s longest immersed tunnel.

The individual elements will be built on land and then sunk onto the sea bed. These concrete pipes will be 200 meters long and weigh around 70,000 tons each pipe — each having the size proportions and weight of a supertanker ship.

Computer graphic impression of the German-side tunnel portal

The country’s largest island, where the capital Copenhagen — Denmark’s economic center — is located, will be connected with the Danish mainland in the west, with Sweden in the east, and by completion of the Fehmarn Belt, with Germany in the south — one-fifth of all of Denmark’s trade is conducted with Germany.

Oresund: Denmark to Sweden-Bridge & Tunnel

The Fehmarn crossing is the final missing link of the most expensive and important infrastructure building project in Denmark’s history.

The massive bridge project over the Great Belt strait, which effectively divides Denmark in two, has been in operation since 1998.

In 2000, the Oresund Bridge/Tunnel was opened to connect Denmark with Sweden.

And now, the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel — this final great sea connection — is scheduled to be ready for trains and trucks in just a decade.

Infrastructure Improvement Overdue

While Denmark is to foot the entire cost of constructing the tunnel, Germany will not, however, be able to avoid some kind of financial involvement. It has already committed to electrifying the 90-kilometer stretch of rail between Lübeck and Puttgarden — as well as laying a second track at a later date. The road connection from Fehmarn will also be improved.

These infrastructure changes will cost €800 million (or more than $1 Billion), according to the German government.

Local resistance to the project formed a long time ago.The seaside resorts fear a dramatic increase in traffic. More cars, high-speed ICE trains and dozens of freight trains could influence their quality of life. Opponents want neither a bridge nor a tunnel — they want everything kept as it is.

Following Tuesday’s decision, another part of Europe marches progressively into the future.

The United States?

Not so much…

Witness the retrograde American attitude about this project expressed on a development portal discussion group (and note the Danish response):

Click Image To Enlarge For better Readability


When I was a child, I wondered aloud about how I was so fortunate to be born into the world’s most advanced nation.

Now… I just wonder why I allow myself to be stuck here!

We soon will have no spaceships to reach the International Space Station, haven’t replaced two buildings some international thugs knocked down a decade ago, have no high-speed rail system, and pridefully squawk about taking away health care insurance from 15 million U.S. citizens who only had it for a few months.

I just need to remember that we grew stale, conservative, and republican… and be prepared to bolt for the new progressive nations of the world.


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