As a member of the joint venture "Femern Link Contractors", Max Bögl is involved in the design and construction of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link, the world's largest combined underwater road and rail tunnel. The consortium of eight companies was commissioned to construct the four-tube immersed tunnel and the associated buildings and portal structures (toll buildings, bridges and ramps). The three contracts, which also include the construction of a production facility to manufacture the tunnel elements, have a total value of 3.4 billion euros. If the building permit is granted as part of the planning approval procedure on the German side in the course of 2017, construction of the major project under the Fehmarnbelt could probably begin in 2019. The tunnel construction work itself will be carried out by French and Danish companies. With an estimated construction time of around 8.5 years, the construction costs for the entire project currently amount to almost 7.5 billion euros.
Major project of European scope
The shortest connection across the Fehmarnbelt between the two ports of Puttgarden on Fehmarn and Rødbyhavn on Lolland is 18.6 km. With the ferry this means a journey time of currently about one hour through the strait of the western Baltic Sea. On the road, motorists even have to accept a detour of up to 160 kilometres via the Danish Jutland region. The Fehmarnbelt crossing will therefore not only considerably shorten the travel time for motorists and rail travellers. Denmark and Germany also expect the major tunnel project to strengthen and promote trade and tourism in Northern Europe.
Proven construction method with high empirical values
The construction of the 18.2-kilometer-long immersed tunnel follows the same principles that have proved successful in the construction of the Öresund Tunnel between Copenhagen and Malmö (Sweden). Since its completion in 2000, the procedures and technologies used there have been further developed on the basis of international experience and adapted to the conditions at the Fehmarn Belt. The new underwater tunnel will accommodate a four-lane motorway and a double-track, electrified railway line. It will consist of a total of 89 hollow reinforced concrete elements, each 217 metres long, which will be produced in series in a specially designed factory in the port of Rødbyhavn. The 79 standard elements are joined by ten special segments. These have a basement to accommodate the technical equipment required to operate and maintain the tunnel.
Well protected under the Fehmarn Belt
Each finished tunnel element, almost 42 meters wide and up to nine meters high, weighs around 73,000 tons. To make them floatable, they are fitted with large steel bulkheads at both ends. The segments are towed by tugs to the respective installation point in the strait, where they are lowered to the seabed in a controlled and precise manner. To this end, a trench up to 60 metres wide and 16 metres deep is excavated over a length of almost 18 kilometres from both the German and Danish sides using the dredging method. After lowering, the individual tunnel elements are joined together and then filled laterally with gravel and sand and covered from above with large stones. The uppermost stone layer is flush with the seabed so that the tunnel is safely embedded and thus protected from ship anchors and collisions. Around 19 million cubic metres of sand and earth excavated during the construction of the trench will be used to construct new coastal areas near Rødbyhavn and partly also near Puttgarden.