Femern A/S'' updated application for planning permission for the Fehmarnbelt tunnel linking Germany and Denmark was submitted for public consultation in Germany between 12 July and 26 August 2016. The process is now complete and Femern A/S expects thousands of responses over the weeks ahead.

During the consultation period, members of the public, companies and organisations had the opportunity to study the improvements to the application documents, which were made on the basis of the first consultation in 2014-15.

The independent regulatory authority in Kiel is responsible for the consultation and is currently documenting all the responses.

The updated application was made available in a printed version at the town hall on the island of Fehmarn and in the municipalities along the alignment for the new German railway from Fehmarn to Lübeck. The documents were also made available at a dedicated website.

The Fehmarnbelt fixed link's German section must be approved by the German authorities before construction can get underway. In Denmark, the Fehmarnbelt fixed link's Danish section was approved by the adoption of the 2015 Construction Act.

The Fehmarnbelt link will be an 18 kilometre long immersed tunnel. It will be the world's longest of its type for both road and rail. It will take ten minutes to travel from Denmark to Germany by car and seven minutes by train.

The Fehmarnbelt tunnel is an important part of the European transport network. Along with the Øresund fixed link between Copenhagen and Malmö, the Fehmarnbelt link will bring Scandinavia and Central Europe closer together via the so-called North-South corridor.

It will comprise a four lane motorway and two electrified rail tracks and will be constructed from 79 individual elements, each 217 metres long, and 10 special elements with a lower floor for the use of the tunnel operation and maintenance equipment. Each tunnel element weighs 73,000 tonnes and it will take about 8.5 years to build the Fehmarnbelt link.

The construction budget is DKK 55.1 billion (2015 prices), user-financed, so revenues from the link will repay the loans that financed construction. This is the same model that financed the Storebælt and Øresund links.

As MJ reported, on 30 May 2016, Femern A/S signed four major contracts for the largest construction works worth almost DKK 30 billion with selected international contractor consortia.

The contracts are conditional, which means that construction work will be postponed until the German construction permit is in place. The contracts are valid until the end of 2019 with the option to renegotiate at that time.

By Jake Frith