The Fehmarn Strait underwater tunnel project between Denmark and Germany, the longest of its kind in the world for cars and trains, has begun to take shape in the construction of a huge production plant, which has begun to make the first elements of a infrastructure to form. inaugurated in 2029.
The tunnel will complete the Scandinavian railway connection in central Europe and create a corridor between the Sund Strait region and Hamburg in northern Germany, reducing the travel time between Hamburg and Copenhagen by more than two hours.
The preliminary work took more than three years to prepare the site and build a new port, raise the dikes and do the dredging, as well as the construction of a factory with three production warehouses, where the 89 concrete elements that will make a tunnel will be 18.2 kilometers between the Danish island of Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn.
“If we were operating at one hundred percent capacity, we would produce 20% of the total cement in Denmark,” said Fermen’s construction manager, Anders Gert Wede, during a visit to the plant in Rødby.
Femern is the public company created by the Danish State to plan, build and operate the largest infrastructure project in Danish history, employing 3,000 people, mostly on the Danish side.
The tunnel, with a depth of 39 meters, consists of 79 concrete elements measuring 217 meters in length and weighing 73,500 tons, divided into nine sections, in addition to another ten special that element.
At the factory in Rødby, the size of which is equivalent to 140 football fields, the first parts have begun to join and it is estimated that one element will be produced every 14 days for a year and a half, explained Wed.
“We estimate that the last elements will sink throughout 2027”
The elements will then be dragged to the sea and submerged on the seabed, where they will be assembled, according to a similar technology, although improved and updated, to that used in the submerged section of the Sund Bridge (2000), which connects Copenhagen and Places called Malmö in Sweden. “We estimate that the last elements will sink in 2027,” Wede said.
The tunnel, which includes a double-track motorway in each direction and two railways, has a total budget of 7.4 billion euros, with more than 1 billion in funding from the European Commission (EC), and mostly covered with leaves for Denmark.
The construction is financed by loans guaranteed by the State of Denmark to be paid with the income from the toll (on the Danish side) and has a repayment period of 28 years.
The dredged material will be used to create new natural and recreational areas on the two islands, and there is a commitment to use only renewable energy in the construction and operation of the tunnel, although that did not convince environmentalists, who criticized the damage that can be done to the project. causing the fragile Baltic ecosystem.
Complaints filed by environmental groups, citizens and the shipping company Scandlines, which operates the ferry route between Rødby and Puttgarden, caused delays in a project that was presented in 2007 and went through a fundamental change. 2018.
In 2008, the Danish and German governments signed a formal agreement to join the two islands but through a bridge, in which Copenhagen claimed the majority of the project and Berlin committed to improve the access and train access to Puttgarden, in addition to building the mouth. in the tunnel on the German side.
But Denmark opted three years later for a new model with an underwater tunnel, a cheaper solution, which was approved in 2015 by its Parliament and, four years later, by Germany.
Femern released the various phases of the project, in which, among others, Danish, German, French and Spanish companies such as SICE and Cobra, which managed the electrical and mechanical installation inside the tunnel, participated.