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The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel: The world's longest tunnel for rail and road transport

The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel: The world's longest tunnel for rail and road transport
photo: Fehmarnbelt Tunnel: The world's longest tunnel for rail and road transport
25 / 12 / 2021

With a total span of 18 kilometers, the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel is the world's longest tunnel for rail and road transport. Here are some interesting facts about the tunnel. The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel is one of Europe's largest construction sites. The expected completion of the construction works is scheduled for 2029.

The Fehmarnbelt link will get built as an immersed tunnel connecting Rødbyhavn on Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn. In contrast to a bored tunnel, an immersed tunnel got made up of hollow concrete elements, cast on land, and assembled section by section to form the tunnel. A trench for the tunnel must first get excavated in the seabed to create the Fehmarnbelt link. This channel will be up to 60 meters wide, 16 meters deep, and 18 kilometers long. In total, some 19 million cubic meters of stone and sand will get excavated from the seabed. That will get used to establish around three square kilometers of new landmasses, especially on Lolland and on Fehmarn.

The tunnel will consist of 79 standard elements with a length of 217 meters in a design like the Drogden trench, with two road tubes, one emergency tube, and two rail tubes. Additionally, there will be ten service elements with a length of 85.7 meters, but both broader and higher with a subfloor to store technical equipment.

The actual crossing has been a topic of discussion for nearly 30 years. The whole project has faced some criticism throughout those years.

Before the unification of Germany, Hamburg was the only suitable option for creating the tunnel even though avoiding connections with Communist East Germany made this odd alternative unachievable.

It gets claimed that the plan might be economically unjustified, as predictions of passenger traffic and goods transport may get overestimated, and there is a considerable risk that the investment will not get regained.

"Statistically, The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel Will be just as safe to use as Equivalent Routes by road or rail on open land in Denmark, shows the Company's risk analysis," stated Femern A/S, the company responsible for this project.

Femern A/S is tasked with the planning, building, and operating of the fixed link between Denmark and Germany across the Fehmarnbelt.

 Femern A/S is part of Sund & Bælt Holding A/S, which is 100% owned by the Danish Ministry of Transport. Sund & Bælt Holding A/S is also accountable for the fixed link over the Storebælt.