Fehmarn link submits for German approval 19 Sep 2013
Femern A/S New Release
Plans to construct the world's longest undersea immersed tunnel, the Fehmarnbelt Link between Denmark and Germany, advance to a new phase next month. Project owner Femern A/S has completed a 10,000-page application to build the fixed rail and road link that will be delivered to the Schleswig-Holstein authorities in Germany in October (2013). This means that the regulatory approval process is underway in both Denmark and Germany.
Fehmarnbelt link alignment

Fehmarnbelt link alignment

Over a four-year period, Femern A/S has set out three alternatives for the main project: an immersed tunnel; a cable-stayed bridge; and a bored tunnel. The alternatives have been thoroughly investigated and their impact on the environment analysed in depth. As a result of the many studies conducted by a large team of international experts, the immersed tunnel was designated as the Femern A/S recommended option.
"The Fehmarnbelt project has made a big step forward. We are currently in the tender process with contractors drawing up and calculating the cost of the tunnel. The Danish EIA consultation is underway and now follows the German approval process, which is the final part of our planning phase before the Construction Act for the project can be submitted. It's a good feeling to have come so far in this challenging process. We have a good and constructive relationship with the German authorities; together we have been able to complete the application quickly and with a high degree of quality. This is, after all, one of Europe's largest cross-border projects and it is consequently a very complex process," said Claus Baunkjær, CEO of Femern A/S.
Baunkjær added that an immersed tunnel was considered the least risky of the three possible alternatives, especially a TBM bored tunnel. "A bridge or a TBM tunnel could have been done, but both projects are on the edge of known and proven technology, he said. "A bored tunnel for both cars and trains would require six of the world's largest TBMs and, besides, the soil under the Fehmarnbelt is poorly suited for drilling, consisting of very diverse strata of sand, rock and fissured clay. That is why those two solutions were not chosen, even if a bored tunnel has a slight environmental benefit during the construction phase," said Baunkjær.
TBM bored tunnels considered too great a risk

TBM bored tunnels considered too great a risk

"It is only during the construction phase that there is a small environmental advantage to a bored tunnel and this does not compensate for the major technical risks, the poor safety conditions for the crews of the tunnel boring machines, not to mention a premium of approximately €1.3 billion," he added.
The immersed tunnel under the Fehmarnbelt will carry a four-lane motorway plus a dual-track electrified railway, and is projected for completion in late 2021. Construction is due to start in the summer of 2015, after the regulatory approval process in Germany has been completed and after the Danish Parliament has adopted the Construction Act.
Bidding progress for Germany-Denmark link - TunnelTalk, August 2013
Fehmarn link prequalifiers unveiled - TunnelTalk, May 2013
Fehmarnbelt link design safety contract - TunnelTalk, January 2013
Prequalifiers called for Fehmarn sea link - TunnelTalk, October 2012
TBM tunnels considered for Fehmarn sea link - TunnelTalk, December 2011
Deep data on Fehmarn Link - TunnelTalk, May 2011
Innovations for the Fehmarnbelt tunnel option - TunnelTalk, May 2010

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