Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link

The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is a planned 18-km immersed tunnel between Rødbyhavn in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany, making it the longest immersed tunnel in the world. It comprises a four-lane motorway and dual track electrified railway. The project also includes upgraded rail and motorway connections from Ringsted to Rødby in Denmark and from Puttgarden to Lübeck in Germany.

‍The Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link (green) and the Gedser–Rostock ferry link (orange) in the Danish–German motorway system

The construction of the tunnel between Denmark and Germany will be carried out in several phases over a number of years. Comprehensive planning work, along with feasibility and environmental studies, have been carried out in connection with preparations for the construction of the Fehmarnbelt tunnel. The construction of the tunnel and associated landworks will begin when final approval of the project is received from the Danish political parties supporting the project, when contracts have been signed with the contractors and when the German authority’s approval is available. The project is divided into several phases.

  • Site preparation: An area east of Rødbyhavn will be prepared for the project. The area includes the location for the production of the tunnel elements and accommodation for the construction workers. The work includes the preparation of roads to and from the production facilities.

  • Construction of the production facilities and associated working harbour: A factory will be built east of Rødbyhavn for the manufacture of the 89 steel-reinforced concrete elements from which the tunnel will be constructed. Accommodation for the tunnel workers will also be built.

  • Construction of working harbors: Working harbors will be build on both Fehmarn and Lolland. This will be used for the shipping of the large quantities of building materials to be used for the construction. The working harbor in Rødbyhavn on Lolland will by far be the biggest of the two, as the production of tunnel elements are taking place on Lolland. It is anticipated that the Danish working harbour will receive approximately six shiploads a month. The harbor will also be used for when the finished tunnel elements are towed out to the Fehmarnbelt.

  • Dredging work will take place in the Fehmarnbelt: The dredged trench from Denmark to Germany needs to be 17.6 km long, up to approximately 90 m wide and 16 m deep. This is where the tunnel elements will be immersed, connected and covered. Surplus material from the dredging will be used for the construction of new coastal areas near Rødbyhavn and to a limited extent on Fehmarn.

  • Building the portal facilities: Construction of portal facilities on the Danish side and on the German side comprising the down/up approaches to the tunnel. The portal facilities will connect the tunnel railway and motorway with the upgraded and partly newly built roads and railways in the hinterland.

  • Production and assembly of the tunnel elements: The 89 pre-cast tunnel elements will be produced at the factory in Rødbyhavn and towed out to the Fehmarnbelt on an ongoing basis. Contractors will immerse the elements one by one and assemble them from the coasts and out toward the middle of the belt from both the Danish and German sides.

  • Installing the technology and equipment: Femern A/S will build the motorway and railway installations and all necessary technical and mechanical equipment in the tunnel.

  • Testing and opening: Equipment and safety and contingency procedures will need to be tested and approved before the finished tunnel becomes operational. The affected land and coastal areas will be re-established, while the tunnel element factory and working harbour will be demolished.

  • New recreational coastal areas: Most of the dredged soil from Fehmarnbelt will be used to build new recreational areas of the coasts of Lolland and Fehmarn. The new landscape will be shaped by beaches and dunes as well as both wet and dry natural and grazing areas of both recreational and biological benefit. The new land areas will be built from the dredged soil from the construction of the tunnel, production sites and work harbors. Some of the land area to be established on Lolland will compensate for the loss of existing natural areas arising from the project.

The land areas will be created on an ongoing basis as the soil from the seabed is dredged. On both Lolland and Fehmarn, they will generally extend around 500 m into the Fehmarnbelt. This is about the same distance from the shore as the piers of the existing ferry ports at Rødbyhavn and Puttgarden.

The Fehmarnbelt link will be the world’s longest immersed tunnel, but the techniques are proven. The Øresund tunnel was built in the same way.