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The longest sunken tunnel in the world built between Denmark and Germany reaches a landmark

When completed, the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, which will link Denmark to Germany, will be the longest sunken tunnel in the world. At an important stage, the dredging of the 18-kilometer or 11.1-mile tunnel is now half-finished.

“We are, of course, pleased that the work is progressing according to schedule,” said Henrik Vincentsen, CEO of Femern A / S, the Danish developer managing the project. Soil engineering.

“Our focus is now on the next goal of the project. For us, it is important that the construction of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel be built as sustainably as possible, ”Vincentsen explained. “Where possible, we and our contractors try to identify opportunities to optimize the project for environmental reasons and to contribute our know-how for future infrastructure projects.”

The Fehmarnbelt tunnel will connect Rødbyhavn on the island of Lolland in Denmark and Puttgarden in northern Germany. The tunnel, which is expected to open in 2029, will have a four-lane highway as well as two railroad tracks.

Dredging operations began in July 2021 and are expected to be completed in 2024. Eventually, up to 19 million cubic meters of land will be dredged and then used to build new natural and recreational areas, Femern explains. I WOULD.

The benefits of the tunnel

The idea of ​​connecting Denmark to Germany either through a bridge or a tunnel has been considered for years. Finally, construction of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel began after 10 years of planning.

When completed, the tunnel will make the shuttle easier. Indeed, the journey between Rødbyhavn and Puttgarden will take 7 minutes by train and 10 minutes by car. As a result, these passengers will save about 1 hour without having to take a ferry, according to Femern A / S.

More significantly, the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will play an important role in the “green transition” of the European transport network. This is due to the fact that allowing traffic to use the shortest and fastest route will reduce CO2 emissions, while freeing up capacity on roads and railways.

In addition, Denmark also builds rail connections to and from the tunnel for electric trains capable of traveling at speeds of up to 200 kilometers or about 124 miles per hour. The use of these trains will, of course, shorten travel time, but will also reduce CO2 emissions, as passengers will not have to rely on buses.

A unique approach

For comparison, the 50-kilometer (31-mile) Channel Tunnel linking England and France was built using a drilling machine, rather than by sinking prefabricated tunnel sections.

This is how the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will be built. First, a tunnel portal is being built both in Denmark, near Rødbyhavn, and in Germany, near Puttgarden. These portals connect the tunnel railway and highway with the roads and railways of each country.

After that, 79 standard elements and 10 special elements - or sections - will be built. Each standard element is 217 meters long (almost 712 feet) and weighs over 81,000 tons.

Each item will then be fitted with waterproof walls and then towed back in place before being lowered to the seabed by cranes. Once in place, they will be mounted together.

Once all the elements are connected, the next phase of construction is to start what Femern A / S calls “technical and mechanical installations”. This work includes everything from laying railways and highway lanes to installing ventilation, cameras and communications systems.

The entire project is expected to be completed in time for the tunnel to open in mid-2029.

For more on the fascinating bridges you can cross, be sure to read:

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