Political backing to Denmark-Germany link
Political backing to Denmark-Germany link Feb 2011
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk

An immersed tube of immense scale and an estimated €5.1 billion, about US$ 7 billion, is set to span the 18km long sea-divide between Denmark and Germany. As one of Europe's largest ever construction projects, the future Fehmarnbelt link is confirmed as the preferred solution among Danish politicians. Denmark has taken upon itself to spearhead the proposed road and rail fixed link route between Scandinavia and the European continent via Germany and to pay for its construction.

Road-rail subsea link between Denmark and Germany

In making their preferences clear, Danish MPs are backing the solution proposed by Femern A/S, the state-owned company in charge of the planning of the fixed link. Scheduled to open in 2020, the 18km long tunnel will cut road and rail travelling times between Northern Germany and Scandinavia's main cities dramatically and create a new and important Northern European growth area.
When completed, the Fehmarnbelt link will be the third huge infrastructure project in Southern Scandinavia over the past three decades. In 1997/98, the Storebælt Tunnel-Bridge combination opened to rail and road traffic to link the Danish islands of Funen and Zealand and in 2000, the Øresund Tunnel-Bridge between Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, and Malmö in Sweden opened to rail traffic. The Fehmarnbelt immersed tube tunnel between Rødbyhavn in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany will comprise four motorway lanes (two in each direction) and a double track railway line.
The immersed tube option beat the cable-stayed bridge alternative last year when the cost of the immersed tube came in slightly under the bridge cost and on assessment that the immersed tube incorporates fewer risks, all told, in both the construction and operational phases, than a cable-stayed bridge.
Leo Larsen, CEO, Femern A/S stated; "We welcome the political support for our recommendation that the future link be designed as an immersed tunnel. The decision means that Femern A/S has reached an important milestone in the planning of the fixed link. As our conceptual design projects are based on an extremely thorough, technical foundation we can now focus on ensuring that the authorities approve the project, including from an environmental perspective."
Over the coming year, Femern A/S will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to be considered by the authorities in Denmark and Germany in accordance with national regulations.

Six cell road and rail immersed tube design

Femern A/S expects to submit an application to the German authorities during the first six months of 2012. A construction bill will then be submitted to the Danish parliament, Folketinget, in 2013. This more or less coincides with the timetable for project approval by the German authorities.
"The aim is to build and operate one of Europe's safest and most modern tunnels for both trains and cars, and bring Northern Europe and Scandinavia even closer together," said Leo Larsen. "As a result we will create opportunities for increased growth and prosperity for more than 10 million residents in the Fehmarnbelt Region."
The construction of one of Europe's biggest infrastructure projects is expected to commence in 2014. The link is scheduled to open to traffic in 2020.
Immersed tube recommended for Femern link - TunnelTalk, November 2010
Cost comparison for Femarnbelt link options - TunnelTalk, November 2010
Femern Bælt fixed link options - TunnelTalk, June 2009
Innovations for the Fehmarnbelt tunnel option - TunnelTalk, May 2010
A world-class tunnel under the Fehmarnbelt
Strong benefits from a fixed Fehmarnbelt link

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