The 18km tunnel will run from Puttgarden on the island of Fehmarn to Rødby on the Danish island of Lolland, carrying a four-lane road, a double-track electrified railway line and a maintenance and evacuation corridor. The tunnel will be up to 47m-wide and 13m-high, and will be built using prefabricated sections that will be sunk into a channel dug into the sea bed.  

The digital ground breaking was attended by Danish minister of transport, Mr Benny Engelbrecht, German federal transport minister, Mr Andreas Scheuer, Schleswig-Holstein state transport minister, Mr Bernd Buchholz, and EU coordinator of the Scan-Med Corridor, Mr Pat Cox. A physical ceremony to replace the cancelled event is expected to take place sometime later this year.  

In April 2015 the Danish government granted final environmental approval for the project in Denmark and authorised state-owned companies Femern A/S and Femern A/S Landanlaeg to construct and operate the link together with associated land works in Denmark.  

In May 2016 Femern Link Contractors (FLC) won three of the contracts for the north, south and tunnel portals and ramps sections of the link, which is expected to take eight-and-a-half years to complete. FLC comprises Vinci Construction Grands Projets, and Soletanche Bachy International, France; Per Aarsleff Holding, Denmark; Wayss & Freytag Engineering and Max Bögl Stiftung, Germany; CFE and Netherlands Dredging International, Belgium; and BAM Infra and BAM International, Netherlands. 

The dredging and land reclamation contract was awarded to Fehmarn Belt Contractors (FBC), comprising Boskalis International, and Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors, Netherlands; and Hochtief Solutions, and Ed Züblin, Germany. 

In November, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig dismissed six appeals brought by two environmental associations, three companies - including Scandlines, the operator of the existing Puttgarden - Rødby ferry line - and the city of Fehmarn against the construction of the German section of the project. 

Initial works include the construction of a tunnel element factory at Rødby and the tunnel portal on Lolland. This will be followed by the production of the tunnel elements and their installation under the sea floor.  

FBC began construction of the working harbour at Rødby in the spring of 2020, and this year will begin construction of a working harbour at Puttgarden and excavation of the channel for the tunnel elements. 

“One of the largest construction works in Danish history can now start,” Engelbrecht says. “Many thousands of employees will have their permanent workplace in Rødbyhavn for the next eight-and-a-half years. I look forward to being able to use the tunnel in 2029.” 

For detailed data on rail projects around the world, subscribe to IRJ Pro