Fehmarn looking at 2020 construction start 23 Nov 2017

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Expected start of construction of the Fehmarn road and rail immersed tube sea link between Denmark and Germany has been pushed back almost two years as part of contingency plans developed to deal with expected prolonged legal resistance in Germany over environmental plans for the strategic transport link.

Fehmarn sea link is an EU TEN-T corridor project
Fehmarn sea link is an EU TEN-T corridor project

Femern A/S had hoped to gain environmental approval in Germany for the 17.6km link by late this year and to start construction by mid-2018. However, despite positive progress over the last year in talks with the German authorities, the project developer has reported to TunnelTalk that it anticipates any approval could face legal challenges from groups opposing the German end of the scheme to build the world’s longest immersed tube tunnel.

“Fehmarn expects a 2-year court process,” said Jens Villemoes, media spokesman for Femern A/S. He told TunnelTalk: “The project is on track for a 2020 start.”

The contingency schedule is up to two years later than the 2018 start hoped for only a year ago and after earlier delays due to both procurement and environmental planning reasons. The latest anticipated delay firms up earlier thoughts of legal complications in Germany and delays completion of the scheme to as far out as 2028.

Villemoes told TunnelTalk that the civil contracts signed in mid-2016 on a conditional basis for 3.5 years were flexible, “with several options for extensions” beyond their validity period. Should they not get to start within the validity period, compensation could be in order although “extension options are also available”, said Villemoes.

The conditional design-build contracts were signed with Vinci-led consortia for the immersed tube tunnel and the portals and ramps contracts, and with a Boskalis-led group for the dredging and reclamation lot.

An agreed EU funding contribution is available in the period ending in 2020. While the timing brushes up against the latter part of the contingency schedule, Femern A/S said the project has strong support in the EU as a priority project.

Cross section of the road-rail immersed tube link
Cross section of the road-rail immersed tube link

Procurement for the crossing began in 2012 and the first environmental planning application was submitted to Germany in 2013. At that time it was anticipated the project could start construction by 2015 and the link be completed in 2021. Initial opposition in Germany required a second environmental application submitted in 2016, the year when conditional civil contracts were signed. Denmark approved the binational project in 2015 and is leading the funding and delivery process.

With so much now lined up to proceed, the approval process in Germany is proving to be the final bottleneck. Media spokesperson Villemoes told TunnelTalk that the necessary environmental approval is a top priority for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein where the tunnel links into the national transport infrastructure. “The parties have good cooperation and the approvals are believed to be on track for mid-2018.”

Meanwhile, Denmark is pushing ahead with activities in and around the project with rail and road authorities working on major infrastructure projects to tie-in the Fehmarn fixed link to Danish transport networks.


Fehmarn signs new framework consultants 30 Mar 2017

TunnelTalk reporting

The Rambøll-Arup-TEC consultancy JV has retained its engagement on the Fehmarn road-rail immersed tube tunnel link by securing Client Consultancy Services framework consultancy contract with the client Femern A/S. The second framework contract for Technical Support Services, is awarded to ÅF-Hansen & Henneberg.

The two consortia beat off competition from several shortlisted groups to provide the next phase of consultancy services for development of the 18km long immersed tube fixed link between Denmark and Germany.

18km long fixed link between Denmark and Germany
18km long fixed link between Denmark and Germany

Femern A/S had said the new arrangements would replace but keep the same overall scope as the previous single consultancy service contract, which was held by Rambøll-Arup-TEC JV since 2009. Under the client consultancy services framework, Rambøll-Arup-TEC JV and supported by sub-consultants WTM Engineers and Schønherr, will provide conventional services, which will include contractor claims.

In the Technical Services framework brief, ÅF-Hansen & Henneberg, supported by sub-consultant ÅF Infrastructure, Atkins Danmark and Obermeyer Planen + Beraten, will second technical staff to the client’s own team plus perform quality assurance (QA) services, as requested.

In a statement announcing the contracts, the client’s technical director, Henrik Christensen, said: “The appointments underline our confidence in the robustness of our technical platform to support our work on the current German approval process prior to the start of construction. When it comes to building the world’s longest immersed tunnel, the aim should be best in class. The consultants in their role will advise and challenge so that we achieve the best possible solutions.”

In February, Femern A/S delivered its responses to objections raised in Germany as part of the environmental approval process. The objections followed the mid-2016, and second, submission of the project to the German authorities. The tunnel project was approved in Denmark in 2015 and a total of €3.814 billion (excluding VAT) in civil construction contracts were conditionally awarded in 2016, pending environmental approval from Germany.

Approval from Germany is anticipated for later in 2017, and on that basis the delayed start of construction is expected to deliver an operational tunnel for 2026.


Fehmarn prequals framework consultants 17 Nov 2016

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk
Design of the road and rail immersed tube connection
Design of the road and rail immersed tube connection

Femern A/S has prequalified a list of consultants to provide services in two framework packages for the design and construction phase of the 17.6km long Fehmarn immersed tube road and rail tunnel connection between Denmark and Germany.

The two framework packages replace an existing single consultancy service contract and divide the scope into client consulting services, to provide conventional consultancy services including dealing with potential contractor claims, and for technical in-house consulting services, to provide personnel as required to the client’s technical division and provide ad hoc quality assurance services.

The prequalified companies for each contract are:
Client Consulting Services

  • CH2M Hill UK with sub-consultants NIRAS, Dr tech Olav Olsen and Sellhorn Ingenieurgesellschaft
  • Rambøll-Arup-TEC JV with sub-consultants WTM Engineers and Schønherr
  • Sweco Danmark with subconsultants Sweco Nederland and Mott MacDonald
  • ÅF Infrastructure

Technical In-house Consulting Services

  • CH2M Hill UK with sub-consultants NIRAS, Dr tech Olav Olsen and Sellhorn Ingenieurgesellschaft
  • Rambøll-Arup-TEC JV with sub-consultant WTM Engineers
  • Sweco Danmark
  • ÅF – Hansen & Henneberg with sub-consultant ÅF Infrastructure

Consultancy services since 2009 have been provided by the Rambøll-Arup-TEC JV, which is on the prequalified shortlist to bid for both of the two new framework contracts.

Femern A/S told TunnelTalk that the new consultancy contracts are expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2017.

Table 1. Bidders for the three main civils packages
Contract Contractors (highlighted JVs successful)
(North and South)
€2.733 billion
Femern Link Contractors (Vinci (France), Per Aarsleff (Denmark), Wayss & Freitag (Germany), Max Bogl Stiftung & Co. (Germany), CFE (Belgium), Solétance-Bachy International (France), BAM (Netyherlands), BAM International (Netherlands). Named sub-contractor is Dredging International (Belgium) with Cowi (Denmark) as design consultant

Femern Belt Contractors
Salini-Impregilo/ Samsung C&T/ Johann Bunte
Obrascon Huarte Lain/Daewoo/Daelim Industrial
Immersia JV (FCC/ NV Besix/ Jan de Nul)

Portals & Ramps
€519.7 million
Femern Link Contractors

Obrascon Huarte Lain/ Daewoo/ Daelim Industrial
Immersia JV (FCC/ NV Besix/ Jan de Nul)
Salini-Impregilo/Samsung C&T/Johann Bunte

€560.9 million
Femern Belt Contractors (Boskalis International (Netherlands), Hochtief (Germany), Ed. Züblin (Germany) and Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors (Netherlands), with SWECO (Denmark) as design consultant

Jan de Nul

“There are no significant changes in the services,” said Jens Villemoes, Press Manager for Femern A/S. Nor does the consultancy tender affect staff levels within the client organisation as it is re-tender of an existing technical advisor contract.

An option for the client under the two-contract system is to have one technical advisor providing quality assurance on the other, said Villemoes.

While a changeover in consultancy arrangements is managed, construction contracts for the civil works are signed, albeit conditionally. Contracts worth a total €3.814 billion (excluding VAT) and below the client’s estimate were signed in May 2016, after an extended bid round for submitting revised offers after all the initial tenders came in substantially in excess of the client’s budget.

Civil contracts are conditional since work cannot begin until Germany grants environmental approval for the project. The conditional contracts are valid for 3.5 years. If the German planning decision is approved in late 2017, as has been anticipated, construction could start soon after.

Also awaited is European Union funding. The project is a strategic transport route under the TEN-T development programme for Europe and EU funding is available to be drawn in subsidy period to 2020, Femern A/S told TunnelTalk.

The current schedule foresees the ambitious undersea immersed tube link opening in 2026 or later due to the various construction procurement and environmental planning delays.


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