The largest submerged tunnel in the world is already in preparation. And it’s built without tunnel boring machines

News hardware The largest submerged tunnel in the world is already in preparation. And it’s built without tunnel boring machines

Submerged tunnels often represent a daring construction site. From here, the most famous tunnel is the one that passes under the English Channel (Eurostar), but another tunnel could soon come to win all the records in Europe.

For this news, we take you to Germany and more specifically to the small town of Puttgarden. Located on the island of Fehmarn, Puttgarden has a ferry port which allows boats to reach the town of Rodby, located on the Danish island of Lolland. This maritime route bears in German the name of Vogelfluglinie. Although the journey on the Baltic Sea is pleasant, the ferry still has many limitations. To remedy this, the two countries are currently working on the construction of a tunnel with impressive characteristics.

Fehmarnbelt: here is the name of this extraordinary tunnel

Fehmarnbeltthis is the name of the future longest submerged tunnel in the world. This building will be able to accommodate both trains and cars, which will significantly reduce travel times between Germany and Denmark. With the help of this tunnel, freight transport and tourist travel will save valuable minutes compared to ferry journeys. With this new project, Europe intends to show once again all its knowledge.

40m under the sea and 18km long

As you will understand, The Fehmarnbelt crosses the Baltic Sea and will connect the two countries passing 40 meters below water level. This building, which has been in the planning stage for a decade, already has a temporary port on the Danish side. On this same bank, already sits the factory which will soon build the 89 gigantic stretches of the tunnel.

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Photo credit: Femern A/S

The largest submerged tunnel in the world is already in preparation.  And it's built without tunnel boring machines

In terms of length, the tunnel will measure nearly 18 kilometers. To give you an idea, the Channel Tunnel which connects England to France is 50 kilometers long and cost 12 billion pounds at the time. The Fehmarnbelt has a budget of 7,000 million euros and is therefore only 18 kilometers long.. But then why is this future tunnel said to be the largest in the world? Well simply because this building will be built without the help of tunnel boring machines, making it the largest tunnel in the world to be built with prefabricated sections.

Each section of the tunnel is 217 meters long and weighs 73,500 tonnes. When ready, they will have huge watertight bulkheads at the ends to keep water out (logical). This will allow these sections to be dropped into the Baltic Sea, then submerged and finally coupled together. The partitions are further provided with a watertight space so that an external pressure pushes them when the water is pumped. With this, the connection between the sections will logically be completely sealed.

Those responsible for Femern A/S, the Danish company in charge of the project, have estimated that the first production line will be ready by the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. Normally, in early 2024 they will be ready to submerge the first section of the tunnel, and if all goes according to plan, the tunnel should open in 2029.

Much faster than the ferry

Currently this route takes 45 minutes by ferry, logically with the help of this tunnel the route can be covered in seven minutes by train and in ten minutes by car. The most noticeable improvement will be seen on the Copenhagen-Hamburg route, which takes around four and a half hours and which, with the tunnel open, can now be done in two and a half hours. Once the Fehmarnbelt is functional, it will be an obvious alternative to the plane, and of course a crucial advantage for the transport of goods.

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