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14 July 2013

Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link: longest combined rail and road tunnel

A fixed and direct link between Scandinavia and Central Europe has been an enduring vision for many decades. This vision is now about to be realised: an approximately 19 km wide link between Rødbyhavn and Puttgarden is due to open to traffic in late 2021.

The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link will be owned by Denmark and financed by Danish state-guaranteed loans raised in the international financial market. These loans will be repaid by the users of the fixed link. This well-proven state-guarantee model was also used to finance the fixed links across Storebælt and Øresund.

The investment in the coast-to-coast link and the Danish landworks is expected to be recouped within a period of approximately 39 years. Excluding the landworks, the coast-to-coast link would be repaid within 33 years. It is estimated that a Fehmarnbelt Tunnel will cost EUR 5.5 billion (2008 prices). A final project budget calculation will be presented by Femern A/S for the Danish Construction Act. The landworks on the Danish side at an estimated EUR 1.1–1.2 billion (2008 prices) will be financed in the same way as the fixed link itself and repaid from toll revenue from the link.

Germany is responsible for developing and financing the German landworks (railway and road) serving the coast to coast link. The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is a priority project under the EU TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Network) programme and has therefore been granted substantial financial support. The project’s profitability calculations assume that the TEN-subsidy will account for 10 per cent of the construction costs during the construction
period.

In all probability, the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link will be built as a 17.6 km immersed tunnel for combined rail and road traffic. Based on the preliminary investigations and planning, there is every indication that an immersed tunnel is the best solution in terms of traffic, safety and environmental factors. At a speed of 110 km per hour, this would offer motorists a journey time of approx. ten minutes through the tunnel. For train passengers, the journey will take seven minutes from coast to coast. When the tunnel is finished, it will be a highly reliable solution that will be open all year round regardless of weather conditions. With a length of 17.6 km, the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link will also be the longest combined rail and road tunnel to date. It will be nearly five times the length of the Øresund tunnel between Copenhagen and Malmö and three times the length of the Trans-Bay Tube Bart tunnel in San Francisco, which is currently the world’s longest immersed tunnel.

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Date Posted: 14 July 2013
News Group: EU Funded Projects