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Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
The world's longest immersed tunnel, more than eleven miles, is in the process of being built between Germany and Denmark.
(One element of the Fehmarn Belt tunnel)
The tunnel, which will be 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) long, is one of Europe's largest infrastructure projects, with a construction budget of over 7 billion euros ($7.1 billion).
By way of comparison, the 50-kilometer (31-mile) Channel Tunnel linking England and France, completed in 1993, cost the equivalent of £12 billion ($13.6 billion) in today's money. Although longer than the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, the Channel Tunnel was made using a boring machine, rather than by immersing pre-built tunnel sections.
It will be built across the Fehmarn Belt, a strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, and is designed as an alternative to the current ferry service from Rødby and Puttgarden, which carries millions of passengers every year. Where the crossing now takes 45 minutes by ferry, it will take just seven minutes by train and 10 minutes by car.
Science fiction fans may not be aware of the works of Michel Verne, Jules Verne fils. In An Express of the Future, published by The Strand Magazine in 1895, he describes a vast immersed tunnel:
He stated that more than 3,000 miles of iron tubes, weighing over 13,000,000 tons, were required, with the number of ships necessary, for the transport of this material--200 ships of 2,000 tons, each making thirty-three voyages. He described this Armada of science bearing the steel to two special vessels, on board of which the ends of the tubes were joined to each other, and incased in a triple netting of iron, the whole covered with a resinous preparation to preserve it from the action of the seawater.
('An Express of the Future' by Michel Verne)
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