The installation of an immersed tunnel beneath the Fehmarnbelt means that construction sites and work harbours will be established on both sides of the link. Moreover, subcontractors throughout Europe will produce many other components for the project, such as ventilation systems, crash barriers, rails and sleepers. Experience from other major construction projects has also shown that regional subcontractors on both sides will benefit from an increased workload, providing the large main contractors for instance with consultancy, materials and services.
Production of tunnel elements accounts for half of the construction budget
The production of the tunnel elements in Rødbyhavn accounts for about half of the entire project-related work. For example, on both the German and Danish sides, there will be excavation and installation works related to the tunnel portals and in order to connect the tunnel to the existing road and rail networks.
Some of the works will be carried out by a wide range of service providers and subcontractors. These include the supply of building materials, consultancy and design services, the construction of steel halls and the erection of small buildings. Additionally, there will be a range of less technical tasks such as car rental agencies, and canteen, cleaning, and security services.
Element factory equals the area of 420 football fields
79 standard reinforced concrete elements will be built in the new factory east of Rødbyhavn. This factory will have eight production lines, each of which will cast one tunnel element every nine weeks.
The production plant is expected to cover an area of 1.250 x 2.400 m, of which 750 x 2.400 m will be on land. This equals the area of approximately 420 football fields.
Within the production plant, it will be possible to work on up to eight production lines at a time for standard elements and on one production line for special elements.
Concrete will be cast inside a construction hall
The tunnel elements will be produced in a closed hall, allowing production to continue regardless of the wind and weather conditions. An element consists of 9 segments that are continuously joined together. Each time a segment has been completed, it is moved out of the production hall. The production of a new segment can then begin inside the hall. Production continues until an entire standard element, which is 217 m long, has been completed.
The finished element is then moved out into a dry dock that is filled with water until the element floats. Through a lock, the element is then moved into a basin, in which the water level can be lowered to that of the Fehmarnbelt. Finally, the element is towed by tug boats out of the basin and transported to the tunnel trench, where it will be immersed and installed.
Rødbyhavn will double in size in six years
The production plant is expected to generate an average of around 2,000 jobs during the expected construction period of about six and a half years. For the region, this means extremely good prospects for jobs and economic growth.
The decision to locate the element factory in Rødbyhavn was made on 25 May 2011. The factory will be located there because the production of tunnel elements must be an integrated part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the entire project, and Rødbyhavn is the only area where Femern A/S has all of the necessary environmental information to implement the EIA. Furthermore, it is an advantage to have the factory close to where the elements will be employed.
Good relations with the neighbours
The tunnel factory will be a large work site, operating 24 hours a day. Therefore, it is necessary to take into special account the concerns of local residents and the surrounding town.
Up to 10 metres high embankments around the plant will provide an effective noise protection for the neighbourhood. It is also essential to ensure that vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians have access to the other side of the construction site. This means that some of the local streets have to be diverted several times during the construction period.
All of the material used for the embankments and for the backfill along the coast will come from the dredging of the seabed at the location where the tunnel will be immersed. The plans for the production plant, access roads, reclamation of land and the extent of the temporary embankments are still to be finalised.
Femern A/S continues to optimise the overall construction processes.