On March 18 th. Dr Robert Sturk of SKANSKA – VINCI  presented the report “The Shortcut” on the IHK North-South-Initiative conference for 120 participants from the politics, industry, planning and science community in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In a special partner event before the seminar, COINCO GmbH was accepted as member of the North-South-Initiative.

In Dr Robert Sturks presentation; “Is a railway tunnel between Sweden and Germany possible?” he confirmed that it is technically possible to construct a tunnel under the Baltic Sea between South Sweden and North East Germany. No major geological and geohydrological obstacles are foreseen that could make the tunnel construction too difficult or exceptionally expensive. The studied area, between Skåne in Southern Sweden and Rügen in Northern Germany, shows water depths down to about 40 meters. The bedrock is mainly represented by limestones and chalk. The Sorgenfrei – Tornquist zone (one of the most prominent tectonic structures) delimits the area to the North, and is thus not a problem for a potential tunnel.

The  study has been conducted by geologists from Bergab, Sweco and SKANSKA-VINCI. The Swedish tunnel experts furthermore suggest that Tunnel Boring  Machine (TBM) as the feasible and advantageous alternative for the “The Shortcut Tunnel”. The TBM technology, combined with a segmental concrete tunnel lining, will make major advantages for the COINCO South project.

Today´s technology implemented in major infrastructure tunnels show that water tightness can be achieved at depths of at least 150-200 m. The design life of such tunnels is 120 – 150 years. This long life span  is an important condition when one is now starting the economic calculations of the project. Next to this, further investigations must be performed, and a thorough political debate and process is of course needed to evaluate the large scale benefits of the tunnel.

The next event and arena for this is a seminar in Stralsund on the 30th of May.