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Fehmarnbelt bridge is preferred sea crossing option

An iconic bridge has re-emerged as the preferred option for the 19km long Fehmarnbelt Crossing between Denmark and Germany despite the tunnelled option being £68M cheaper.

The bridge option has reclaimed favoured status because maintenance costs are lower.

Project promoter Femern has calculated the cost of the immersed tube tunnel at £4.3bn and the cable stayed bridge at £4.4bn. Femern is assessing both options for the proposed road and rail link.

The bridge was originally favourite for construction but this changed when tunnel joint venture designers Arup, Ramboll and TEC were able to design out the ventilation island which significantly reduced costs (NCE 24 June).

Femern’s cost estimates now make the tunnel £68M cheaper to build than the bridge.

But the tunnel would cost £11M a year more to operate and maintain, at £63M.

“The bridge will be iconic with a smaller footprint – it will be one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, although it possibly is a little less environmentally friendly,” said Femern technical director Peter Lundhus. “The tunnel will have a large footprint and people may not like driving through such a long distance underground.

“What this shows is that the both options are buildable and serve the needs of carrying road and rail,” added Lundhus.

The Danish transport minister is expected to make a final decision in January. This will factor in environmental concerns, although a formal Environmental Impact Assessment for both options is not due until 2012.

This then needs to be ratified by the Danish parliament and German approval authority Landesbetrieb Straßenbau und Verkehr Schleswig-Holstein.

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