The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link has been designed and planned by Femern A/S, a subsidiary of the Danish, state-owned company Sund & Bælt Holding A/S. In 2008, a state treaty was approved and signed by the Danish and German governments. Both countries agreed that Denmark would be solely responsible for financing the coast-tocoast project (and the related extension of the Danish coastlines) and therefore be the sole owner of the Fixed Link. In turn, Germany will finance and ensure the timely development of the land works on the German side. The treaty stipulates that the link will consist of a twin-track railway and a four-lane motorway.
The toll station for the users of the Fixed Link will be located on the Danish side of the Fehmarnbelt. Femern A/S was responsible for designing and providing the basis for the official approval of the coast-to-coast section of the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Transport. After a series of investigations between alternative solutions (an immersed tunnel, a bored tunnel, a cable stayed bridge and a suspension bridge), Femern A/S recommended an immersed tunnel as the preferred technical solution for the Fixed Link.
The Fixed Link will fill the infrastructural gap between Scandinavia and mainland Europe by means of an efficient and high-quality transport infrastructure. In addition, the railway connection will result in the highly needed release of the Danish East-West rail connection. Freight trains from Zealand, Sweden and Norway will be able to take the direct tunnel into Germany and mainland Europe instead of the current longer route via Southern Jutland and Northern Germany (Hamburg), shortening the rail freight distance by 160 kilometres. Thus, the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link is part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) (Figure 1). TEN-T’s policy addresses the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. Its ultimate objective is to enhance the efficiency of the European infrastructure so that the EU’s single market functions better and with less environmental impact. The tunnel will also offer a new strong link to the Fehmarnbelt region itself, stimulating growth and prosperity. Nine million people currently live in the region, which extends between the cities of Hamburg, Kiel, Lübeck, Copenhagen and Malmö. The project will not only provide work for local people but will also create jobs at companies in the region supplying the site with raw materials, goods and services.
After an international competitive bidding process, the Tunnel Dredging and Reclamation (TDR) contract was awarded to Fehmarn Belt Contractors (FBC), a joint venture between Boskalis and Van Oord. FBC started preparations in 2019 and actual operations commenced in June 2020 when the first rock was placed to start construction of the breakwaters around the Lolland work harbour in Denmark.