How long will the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt be?
The link will comprise a four-lane motorway and a double-track electrified railway running on an approx. 19 km section between the Danish and German coast.
When will the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt be completed?
Femern A/S expects the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt to open in 2021, three years later than originally planned. Amongst other things, the change is due to the fact that consideration by the authorities is taking longer than expected when the treaty between Denmark and Germany for a Fehmarnbelt link was signed in 2008, and that the authorities have now demanded a two-year environmental investigation instead of one as well as more time for the approval phase.
When will the Danish and German approvals be finalized?
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the coast-to-coast link in Denmark will commence in summer 2013 and Folketinget, the Danish parliament, is expected to discuss a construction act for the project at the end of 2014. In Germany, the authorities will receive the final application material no later than August 2013 after which the approvals are expected to be in place around the turn of the year 2014/2015.
Is the timetable realistic?
The project is proceeding and the current time schedule provides for a realistic time frame to conclude the plan approval documents for both the Danish and the German authorities. Given the fact that the fixed link is a unique project and extends across national borders, there is no direct precedent for the administration’s deliberations and many administrative processes have to be undertaken for the first time. Once the authorities have approved the project the scheduled time frame of 6-6½ years for construction itself is relatively robust.
Is it possible that the project may still be stopped?
The Danish and the German government have signed a state treaty on the realisation of this project and both countries are committed to support the project.
Can the German NGOs bring the project to a temporary or complete halt? How would the time plan be affected if Femern A/S is taken to court by German NGOs?
Complaints or legal redress initiated by NGOs may cause some delay if new facts are presented. Femern A/S is conducting very thorough investigations that also aim at identifying and mitigating any reason for legal redress.
When will construction begin?
Femern A/S expects construction to start in the course of 2015. Construction will start once the tendering process is over and contracts have been signed with the contractors responsible for the construction of the fixed link. After the pre-qualification procedure has begun in October 2012, Femern A/S expects the actual tendering process to start in 2013.
Why is Femern A/S recommending a tunnel rather than a bridge?
The recommendation is based on an assessment of the relevant environmental and safety issues, including navigational safety and technical, traffic, timing and economic considerations.
Does the tunnel recommendation mean that a bridge would be more harmful to the environment than a tunnel?
Both a tunnel and a bridge have certain effects on the environment. Regarding their overall environmental effects, they can almost be considered equal.
Will a bored tunnel not be better for the environment? Why not choose this solution?
A bored tunnel is an environmentally sound but expensive solution. The construction period would take more than two years longer than that of the immersed tunnel – and would be associated with far greater construction risks. The advantages and disadvantages of a bored tunnel with the same service and safety level as an immersed tunnel have been examined – both in terms of construction and operation. It is true that the construction of a bored tunnel would have no impact on the seabed or on shipping in the belt, but in the operational stage (after completion of construction) there would be no difference between the two tunnel solutions' impact on the environment and on sailing conditions. During construction of a bored tunnel, provision should also be made for the fact that some of the excavated soil will be soft and of poor quality for reuse in the reclaimed areas.
Would a bridge not be better for tourism and a better landmark of the region?
It is obvious that a tunnel would not be as visible as a bridge. However, the tourist industry needs fast and easy access to the area's attractions and that need is met by a tunnel as well as a bridge.
Who makes the final decision on the choice of a tunnel or bridge?
The Danish Parliament, Folketinget, will decide. The decision will be in the form of a Construction Act. In Germany, the project must be approved by the relevant German authorities.
Will the adjacent infrastructure on both sides of the Fehmarnbelt be upgraded as part of the fixed link?
The Danish-German treaty on the fixed link commits both countries to invest in the upgrading of the road and rail facilities behind the coast-to-coast link. In Denmark, this primarily applies to the rail section between Ringsted and Rødbyhavn, which will be electrified throughout and double-tracked in all sections apart from the section across the Storstrøm Bridge. In Germany, the road B 207 (E 47) between Heiligenhafen and Puttgarden will be expanded to a four-lane federal motorway apart from the Fehmarnsund Bridge, which will have two lanes. The existing railway between Lübeck and Puttgarden will be electrified and expanded to two tracks with one track across the Fehmarnsund Bridge.
However, both Denmark and Germany consider to also provide for a four-lane motorway and double-track railway section across the Storstrøm and the Fehmarnsund.
Who will build and who will own the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt?
The Danish state-owned company Femern A/S currently plans and finances the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt. It is expected that the Danish Parliament will pass a Construction Act in 2014/20215, thereby entitling Femern A/S to also own and operate the fixed link. Construction itself will be undertaken by contractors on behalf of Femern A/S.
Rail Net Denmark (Banedanmark) and the Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) are responsible for the planning works for the Danish landworks. The Lübeck branch of the State Company for Road Construction and Transport of Schleswig-Holstein (LBV Schleswig-Holstein, Niederlassung Lübeck) and the German national railway company (Deutsche Bahn AG) are responsible for the planning works for the German landworks.
Will it be possible to cross the fixed link by bike?
It has not been planned to integrate a cycle path into the fixed link. This is due to safety as well as practical considerations and very high additional construction costs with regard to the low traffic volume In earlier calculations, construction costs of a cycle path amounted to approx. EUR 228 million (DKK 1.7 billion), not including the additional expenses for operation and maintenance. With the advanced planning of the tunnel’s conceptual design, the costs for a cycle path may be even higher today. The current ferry connection only transports around 4,000 cyclists per year. Future cyclists will of course be able to take their bike with them when crossing the fixed link by train – just as it is the case at the Great Belt and Øresund fixed links.
What will happen to the local residents whose land and property will be affected by the alignment?
In the areas where the fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt will cross private property, utilization of these landed properties will become inevitable. Some expropriations are temporary while others will be permanent. Entire properties may be claimed as well as partial areas. Furthermore, in certain cases a property can be subject to an easement, i.e. the (partial) property remains with the landowner, but a determined right in rem for a third person will be entered in the land register. For instance when a new cable needs to be laid, the cable operator will obtain a right of utilization, operation and entry. The goal is to already purchase properties in Germany in the context of an early acquisition of land that takes place before the German authorities have approved the project. The amount of the compensation will be determined on the basis of standard commercial prices for land and property in the area.