After a long decade of planning, work has begun for the world’s longest immersed tunnel.
Descending 40 meters beneath the Baltic Sea, Fehmarnbelt Tunnel would link Denmark and Germany, slashing journey time to be open by 2029.
The tunnel would be 18 kilometers long and will be one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects.
This would be built across the Fehmarn Belt, a strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, and will design as an alternative to the current ferry service from Rodby and Puttgarden, which carries millions of passengers every year.
The crossing currently takes 45 minutes by ferry, taking just seven minutes by train and 10 minutes by car.
The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link would also be the longest combined road and rail tunnel anywhere in the world.
It would comprise two double lane motorways, which would be separated by a service passageway and two electrified rail tracks.
A similar trip by car will take an hour faster than today, taking into account the time saved by not lining up for the ferry.
Apart from the benefits to passenger trains and cars, the tunnel has a positive impact on freight trucks and trains as it creates a land route between Sweden and Central Europe that would be 160 kilometers shorter than today.
The project dates back to 2008, where Germany and Denmark signed a treaty to build the tunnel.
It then took a decade for the necessary legislation to pass by both countries and geotechnical and environmental impact.
While the process is about to complete on the Danish side, in Germany, several organizations, including ferry companies, environmental groups, and local municipalities, appealed against the project’s approval over claims of unfair ecological and noise concerns.