What will be the world's longest road/rail tunnel, linking northern Germany to Denmark and cutting hours off many trips, got an OK earlier this month from top German courts. Construction had already begun in Denmark.
The tunnel complex, originally imagined thirty years ago as a bridge, will carry four lanes of road traffic and two rail lines from the German island of Fehmarn to the Danish island of Lolland; both islands are already well-connected to their respective mainlands.
The bill for the project is estimated at about €7.1 billion, with funds coming from the EU and from Denmark. The tunnel will be created by submerging hollow sections in a trench on the sea floor and linking them in place. The legal arguments in Germany centered on environmental issues and complaints by ferry operators who will be replaced.
The original plan for a bridge, agreed between the two countries in 2008, was to have opened in 2018, but was dropped when engineers concluded the tunnel idea would cost the same and be easier to maintain. The projected new completion date is 2029.