The world’s longest tunnel is planned underneath the Gulf of Finland. Coincidentally, we take a closer look at Finland’s generous Right to Roam rules. Bulgaria’s 140kmh limit is under threat. Ireland’s toll road operators get hefty top up fees. Sevastopol in line for a new bridge now too. Macedonian roads continue their makeover while it’s a tense day all round in Gibraltar.
BALTIC MEGA TUNNEL
50km tunnel to connect Helsinki and Tallinn.
A tunnel underneath the Gulf of Finland between Finish capital Helsinki and Estonian capital Tallinn is back on the agenda.
Christened Talsinkifix – as in Tallinn-Helsinki Fixed Link – at a minimum 50km long it would be the world’s longest undersea tunnel.
With a projected cost of €9bn, and a build time of ten years, the business case has historically been difficult to make.
However, the upcoming Rail Baltica project, due to open in 2024, connecting the Baltic States to central Europe via Berlin, and starting in Tallinn, has given the project fresh impetus.
As well as bypassing Russia, another not insignificant consideration in the current political climate, a fixed link will create a cross border economic region like the Oresund Link has between Copenhagen and Malmo.
No timeframe has been given for completion of the study. Inevitably the project will include a rail crossing; whether it also has a separate crossing for cars remains to be seen. A part bridge-part tunnel a la Oresund Link is also under consideration.
note: Summer speed limits will be fully restored across Finland by the weekend, up to 120kmh on motorways and 100kmh on main roads.
roundup: BULGARIA’s 140kmh speed limit is under the microscope after a 21 car pileup in thick fog on the Sofia-Black Sea Trakia Highway on Monday. The limit only applies to new sections of road, and only since June 2012. IRELAND. Consternation after it was revealed the operators of the Limerick Tunnel and M3 motorway got top up payments of €8m last year to compensate for lower than expected traffic levels. UKRAINE. After the accelerated timetable for the Crimea-Russia Kerch Bridge, the residents of Sevastopol want a bridge now too. The city is located on a long narrow inlet, split into two, with an 8km round trip between the two sides. A simple 750m bridge at a cost of $485k would transform the city says Crimea’s new deputy tranmin. MACEDONIA. Following the reconstruction of 566km of roads between 2010-13, another 200km will be overhauled by 2015. ‘The country has never before seen such large investment in local roads,’ said tranmin Jakimoski, inspecting progress on the 10km stretch Ivankovci-Mamutcevo in central Macedonia due to open in May. GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH. Delays reached 2.5 hours at the frontier mid-afternoon as the Spanish Ambassador was summoned to the FCO in London over ‘serious concerns’ about a naval incursion off Gibraltar on 1 April.