The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link project is part of the global project Fehmarn Belt railway axis (former Priority Project 20). Together with the Øresund crossing (former Priority Project 11) and the Nordic triangle road and rail links (former Priority Project 12), it connects the Nordic countries to the rest of Europe. The Øresund bridge, a combined two track rail and four lane road bridge and tunnel across the Øresund Strait between Sweden and Denmark, is the most successful example of the TEN-T Projects. There were no major delays during the construction phase, and no exploding costs. On the other hand, the plan of constructing the Tunnel under the Fehmarn Strait brings many controversies connected to environmental risks and social interests. After a long planning period the former plans of building a bridge across the Fehmarn Strait were thrown overboard and a new solution in the form of a Tunnel was focussed on. The new Fehmarn Tunnel set up a new range of questions. The economic practicality of the project is still very questionable, and although the environmental problems changed, they were not reduced. Transport over the Fehmarn straight is handled via a ferry system at the moment. This system is very cost efficient and could also be upgraded to Zero CO2 emissions. The ferry system can also handle the low traffic density perfectly, and it can easily be adapted to handle more traffic. With the construction of the tunnel, the ferry system would be shut down and a large number of jobs would be lost. The job surplus during the construction phase of the tunnel is unlikely to cover the shutdown of the ferry system. Furthermore long-term job creation would not be guaranteed. From the environmental perspective there are also some negative points. In contrast to the construction of the bridge, the water exchange will be guaranteed, but other issues will threaten the ecological system. The construction of the undersea tunnel will cause a large amount of interference on the sea bed. The marine flora and fauna in the Baltic Sea can only exist within clear water. During the construction phase 20 million m3 of mud is going to be moved. This enormous amount of mud will taint the seawater and thus damage the flora and fauna. The construction will last until 2021 and it will take many years for the ecosystem to regenerate from such a long-term disruption. Additionally, the mud will negatively affect the tourist trade. 340- 850 million Euro is the calculated damage for the tourist regions.
Also a lot of big engines are used for the construction of the tunnel, generating the possibility of an increased number of shipping accidents. At the moment, a ship crosses the Fehrman straight every 8 minutes, and many of these ships are large oil tankers, which, in the case of an accident, would be a major threat for the ecological system.
Although the planned project would decrease transport time by one hour, due to the many environmental risks, and for economic reasons, it would be a better solution to stick to the already established and well-functioning ferry system.
Video: Construction of the Tunnel