Danish government approves underwater tunnel project

The Danish government has approved a €5.1bn (£4.3bn) project to build an underwater tunnel that will link Denmark and Germany.

The Fehmarnbelt link will be built by state-owned Femern and is set to comprise a combined motorway and rail tunnel immersed under the Fehmarn Strait between Rødbyhavn in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the 18km-long tunnel is expected to cut travel times between the European continent and Scandinavia and allow high-speed train services to operate between northern Germany and Scandinavia’s main cities.

Leo Larsen, chief executive of Femern, said: ‘The aim is to build and operate one of Europe’s safest and most modern tunnels for both trains and cars, which will bring northern Europe and Scandinavia even closer together. As a result, we’ll create opportunities for increased growth and prosperity for more than 10 million residents in the Fehmarnbelt Region.’

The construction of one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects is expected to begin in 2014.