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Europe under construction: seven of the largest construction projects

Superlatives of tomorrow

In many countries, the infrastructure of entire metropolises is redesigned - with consequences for traffic and logistics. Major construction projects and urban planning will permanently change the infrastructure in many areas.

Seven of the largest construction projects at a glance

© Christian Müller - Fotolia.com

Europe's largest construction site is currently located in London. More than 10,000 workers are busy building a 118-kilometre express train route across the city. Anyone who has already travelled by train in London knows that you can sit in a train for over an hour without even leaving the city. From the outskirts to the city - even before the completion, it is certain that the project will create one of the longest inner city regional express routes in the world.

The route partly uses the already existing tunnel systems and underground stations of the city. However, a completely new tunnel was built on a section of 21 kilometres, between the stations Paddington in the west and Stratford in the east of London. Five additional stations complement the route. The city is expecting 200 million passengers each year. In order to cope with this number of passengers, up to 24 trains per hour should be driven on the new rails during the inner-city rush hour. These trains have a length of 200 metres and move through the city with up to 160 kilometres per hour. The tunnel borings have already been completed. The new line should go into operation by 2019. The costs for the Crossrail project: about 18 billion euros.

More details: http://www.crossrail.co.uk/

With the Brenner Base Tunnel, the longest underground railway connection in the world is being built under the Brenner Pass. Located in the heart of Tyrol, the tunnel connects Austria and Italy with both, goods trains and passenger trains. As a part of the construction work, Innsbruck main station will be reconstructed and directly connected to the rail network. Although most of the work takes place underground, the huge construction site can be observed from the Brenner motorway. The Brenner Base Tunnel will be the longest of its type, with a total length of 64 kilometres. The entire tunnel system with exploratory tunnels, main tunnels and other tunnel structures will have a total length of 230 kilometres after completion. The costs are estimated to be approximately 8.7 billion euros.

More details: https://www.bbt-se.com/

© Femern A/S

Fehmarn - a quiet island in the Baltic Sea. However, a look at the map reveals the strategically important position and the meaning of the "Vogelfluglinie" (literally: "bird route", transport corridor between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hamburg, Germany). Currently, Denmark and Fehmarn are only connected by a ferry service. The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel is now intended to improve logistics between Scandinavia and Central Europe significantly - and also protect the environment. The time savings due to the new under water connection will be enormous: trains should be able to pass the tunnel within 7 minutes only, cars would need - at a speed limit of 110 km/h - ten minutes for the same route. With a length of 18 kilometres, the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel will be the longest immersed tunnel worldwide, for a combined traffic on rail and road. The expected costs of 7 billion euros should be partly refinanced by a toll.

More details: http://femern.com/de/Tunnel

© BIG - Silvio d'Ascia - Société du Grand Paris / Gare Pont de Bondy

Paris gets a new metro: driverless and with the latest technology. A total of 200 kilometres of new rails will be laid and 72 new stations will be built. The costs: approximately 25 billion euros. Five metro lines will be created, an existing one will be expanded. With the new rails, a ring closure around the outer quarters of the city will be created, relieving the traffic in the inner city of the metropolis. The project is to be completed by 2030.

The Grand Paris Express is part of the development project Grand Paris. It is designed to prepare the biggest metropolitan area of France for the requirement of the increasing population and the infrastructural overload. Thus, the City of Paris is oriented towards the project planning of Greater London that advances the development of the British capital.

More details: https://www.societedugrandparis.fr/projet#le-grand-paris

© Alice_D - Fotolia.com

The High Moselle Crossing in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany is one of the major construction projects in Germany: 41 buildings will be constructed along the new street that extends for a distance of 25 kilometres through the Moselle valley. The 1.7 kilometre long High Mosselle Bridge constitutes the core of the project. Upon its completion at the end of the year 2018, it will belong to the highest bridges of Europe. At its highest position, the bridge measures 160 metres - the Cologne Cathedral would fit under it in an upright position.

Thereby, the construction fills a significant gap: the new route connects Belgium with the Rhine-Main region. In particular, the shorter distance to the North Sea ports is advantageous for the goods traffic. Due to the fact that the new connection passes through the world-famous vineyards, a particular attention is being paid to the environmental performance of the new bridge. Thanks to the height of the routing, exhaust gases shall be reduced in a quicker way. Moreover, the noise pollution caused by traffic shall be decreased in many locations. Estimated project costs: approx. 170 million euros.

More details: http://www.hochmoseluebergang.rlp.de/

© Okea - fotolia.com

In the Northern part of the Turkish metropolis Istanbul the biggest airport in the world is under construction. Approx. 150 million passengers per year shall use the new hub at the Bosphorus in the future. For comparison purposes: until now the world's biggest airport in Atlanta has a passenger capacity of 90 million per year, according to the newspaper Global Atlanta.

Six runways, eight air traffic control towers, 165 boarding gates and a capacity of 500 airplanes characterise the Istanbul's new airport. The terminals extend over seven square metres and are cross-linked by train connections. The costs for the construction project amount to more than ten billion euros according to estimations. According to "Spiegel", the opening of the first construction phase is planned for February 2018. Further construction measures will transform the airport into the biggest airport of the world by 2028.

The actual background of the construction project: the Summer Olympics 2020. As host of the Olympic Games, Istanbul aimed to welcome its visitors at the new airport and consequently relieve the Atatürk Airport - that is already now too small for the metropolis. However, Turkey has lost the tendering process for this major event. Olympia will take place in Japan in 2020. Therefore, the airport is supposed to go into direct competition with London Heathrow, Frankfurt Airport or the hub in Dubai, in order to effectively gain international importance and to utilise the huge capacities.

More details: http://www.igairport.com/en

© AlpTransit Gotthard AG

The construction of the currently world´s longest railway tunnel is already completed: since December the passenger transport service takes place in the Gotthard Base Tunnel. The construction took 17 long years and finally the ceremonial opening took place in summer 2016. Its dimensions are enormous: the tunnel measures 57 kilometres. Consequently, it is not only the world´s longest, but also the world´s deepest railway tunnel. A rock overburden of up to 2,300 metres lies over the railway line. The bore machine itself measures 410 metres that ate through the Alps.

The planning for the tunnel in "Gottardo", as the rock is called in Italian, have started already 68 years ago - which fits in with a structure worthy of superlatives.

Now, train passengers are able to save 45 minutes on the route from Zurich to Lugano. But the tunnel will be used especially for goods train services: a total of up to 260 trains pass the Gotthard day by day. The tunnel represents one of the most important axles for the North-South traffic in Europe.

More details: http://www.gottardo2016.ch

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