The boring through of the first of two 8.7km single-track bores on the SKr 10.5 billion ($US 1.4 billion) Hallandsås tunnel project is a major achievement. Tunnelling originally started in 1992 but was halted in 1997 when the project was one-third complete because of serious environmental concerns. Tunnelling restarted in 2005 and the tunnel will now open to traffic in 2015. The tunnel is a key element in upgrading Sweden's West Coast Line linking Gothenburg with Malmö as it will replace a steeply-graded single-track section on the line which is now 85% double-track. The tunnel will allow the number of trains to be increased from four to 24 per hour, and a doubling of the maximum weight for freight trains.
Trafikverket, Sweden's infrastructure authority, officially started work today on a combined project to build a new highway and to double the existing 26km railway between Motala and Mjölby. The rail element will cost SKr 2.3 billion and is due to be completed in 2013.