One of the great architectural marvels of our time has just been approved by seven out of eight parliamentary factions in Denmark. The state-owned firm Femern A/S will build a tunnel from the German island of Fehmarn to the Danish island of Lolland. Both islands have connections to the mainland. The project's budget has been set at 5.1 billion euros, or $7 billion. Construction will begin in 2014, after teams from Denmark and Germany produce environmental impact reports. The tunnel is expected to be ready for traffic in 2020.
Environmentalists in Germany have condemned the tunnel project for its potential damage to the habitats of whales and seals. Tunnel-advocates contend that this method is actually more "green" than the originally planned bridge. The 18-kilometer tunnel will allow motorists to drive from Copenhagen to Hamburg in just three hours.
Denmark plans to bear the brunt of the project's expense, but the Germans will need to pay between 800 million and 1.7 billion euros to connect their infrastructure to the tunnel. Chump change, considering how much trade and tourist exchange the tunnel is expected to drive. Denmark expects to recoup costs via tolls in a mere 30 years.
They assume flying, auto-driven smart cars won't be ubiquitous by then. Way to be a buzzkill, Sweden.