The 18km long Fehmarnbelt tunnel link between Germany and Denmark has received the long awaited green light from the German government, paving the way for construction to start.
Construction was originally slated to start in 2012 . The project has had continued support from the Danish government, which set up project promoter Femern to develop the scheme, but final sign off from the Schleswig-Holstein regional government in Germany has only just been granted.
Years of planning preceded the new announcement. Femern submitted a 1,000-page legal document for review, with plans having undergone two lengthy public consultations since 2013. A Vinci-led consortium emerged as the proposed winner of the lucrative construction contracts in mid-2016.
The immersed tube tunnel – Northern Europe’s largest construction project – will house a four-lane motorway adjacent to two electrified railway tracks connecting the Danish island of Lolland with the German island of Fehmarn. It will be the world’s longest immersed tube tunnel and the world’s longest road and rail tunnel under water when complete.
Femern project director Claus Dynesen said the signing represented a “crucial milestone” for the project.
“I am delighted and proud that we have today reached this crucial milestone. This is the result of several years of cooperation between the parties involved in Denmark and Germany,” he said. “The approval means that agreement has now been reached between the German authorities and Femern on how to construct the tunnel.”
The tunnel will be primarily formed of 79 individual 217m long sections – each 42.2m wide and 8.9m tall.
The 73,000t individual sections will be constructed on the Danish side at Rødbyhavn, before being floated out and installed on the seabed.
“We will now thoroughly analyse the approval, and then, during the spring, we will present scenarios on how we will achieve the project goals,” says Dynesen.
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