While Malaysia is looking into building an underwater tunnel to connect Indonesia and Malaysia, Denmark and Germany have actually started building one, which would slash journey times between the two countries when it opens in 2029.
According to CNN, the construction of the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, which took a decade to plan, started in 2020. Since then, a harbour on the Danish side has been constructed, where it will soon host a factory that will build 89 massive concrete sections that will make up the tunnel.
German – Denmark tunnel = Malaysia – Indonesia tunnel/ highway?
“The expectation is that the first production line will be ready around the end of the year or beginning of next year,” said Henrik Vincentsen, CEO of Femern A/S, the state-owned Danish company in charge of the project. “By the beginning of 2024, we have to be ready to immerse the first tunnel element.”
It is called the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel because it will be built across the Fehmarn Belt, a strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland.
Currently, there is a ferry service from Fehmarn and Lolland, which carries millions of passengers every year. The ferry takes 45 minutes to get from one side to the other, but the tunnel will allow cars to cross the two countries in just 10 minutes.
The tunnel, which will be 18 kilometers long, will be one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects, with a construction budget of over 7 billion euros (RM31.8 billion).
It won’t be the longest tunnel to connect two countries, as the 50-kilometre Channel Tunnel linking England and France completed in 1993 is more than double its length. The Channel Tunnel cost the equivalent of £12 billion (RM54.6 billion) in today’s money.
Suppose Malaysia actually builds the proposed 120km route from Melaka to Dumai, Sumatra, in that case, it will be more than six times the length of the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel. It hasn’t yet been decided whether it will be an immersed tunnel or just a good old bridge.