The longest tunnel in the world will be slightly Belgian.
The Fehmarn Belt project had gone quiet in recent years while the authorisation procedure was underway. Even though the lights were still amber on the German side, the Danish government has now given the green light for work to start by 1 January 2021.
The almost 18-kilometre-long underwater tunnel - built by digging a trench in shallow water rather than drilling a shaft - will link the Danish islands of Lolland-Falster to the Schleswig-Holstein region in Germany, passing under the Baltic Sea. It will be the longest immersed rail and road tunnel in the world, connecting Germany and Denmark in 10 minutes by car and 7 minutes by train, instead of the current one hour by ferry.
The international consortium in charge of construction includes the French group VINCI Construction Grands Projets, the Danish company Per Aarsleff and several other companies, including CFE and DEME, the two subsidiaries of the Belgian group Ackermans & van Haaren. According to the spokesperson of the Belgian dredging company DEME, Vicky Cosemans, this is good news. Indeed, the contract is worth 700 million euros.
This link, which would provide a new gateway to continental Europe and towards more environmentally friendly modes of transport, should be operational by 2029.