The Parliament of Denmark has approved the construction of an $8.31bn (€7.4bn) immersed tunnel to connect the country with Germany via road and rail.
Known as Fehmarn Belt, the construction of the 18km-long tunnel will help to replace a ferry link between Rødbyhavn in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany.
The European Union has agreed to contribute $663.15m (€590m) towards the total cost of the tunnel, which includes a four-lane motorway and a two-track railway.
Femern consortium will undertake construction. It will commence negotiating contracts to enable the first phase of work to commence towards the end of this year.
Commenting on the development, Femern CEO Claus Baunkjær said: “Now we embark on a new chapter of the Fehmarn Belt fixed link project. The implementation of a number of major construction activities will make best use of the time and ensure progress in the project. This is a very important step.”
Partners of the Femern consortium include Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Per Aarsleff, Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau, Solétance-Bachy International, Max Bögl Stiftung, CFE, BAM Infra, as well as BAM International.
It is believed that the tunnel will accelerate road and rail connections from the German cities of Hamburg, Bremen and Hannover to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, and the city of Malmo in Sweden.
Scheduled to be completed by 2028, the proposed tunnel is expected to reduce travel time between Copenhagen and Hamburg. Railway travel time will total two hours, reduced from four hours and 40 minutes, while travelling by road will take one hour compared to the current five hours and 40 minutes.
The German authorities approved the Fehmarn Belt link in December.
As part of the tunnel construction plan, the factory at Rødbyhavn will cast the 89 tunnel sections that will constitute the Fehmarn Belt fixed link project.
Additionally, living and administration facilities for Fehmern tunnel workers and contractors will be established.
Construction work of the tunnel on the Danish side is expected to begin towards the end of this year.