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Fehmarnbelt sets new standards for tunnel safety

Femern A/S will ensure that all users have a safe journey through the world’s longest immersed tunnel.

The safety of tunnel users has always had high priority. The Fehmarnbelt tunnel complies with all relevant safety requirements from Denmark, Germany and the EU. Safety is integrated into all aspects of the design and all necessary safety equipment will be installed in the tunnel. The 18 km long link will not only be the world’s longest immersed tunnel for road and rail, but also an extremely safe and secure link for its users. 

Just as safe as open land

Overall, the Fehmarnbelt tunnel will be just as safe to use as equivalent routes by road or rail on open land, shows the company’s risk analysis. This is because factors that often trigger accidents will not occur in the tunnel. Motorists who use the road tunnel will never encounter oncoming traffic and there will be no slip roads on the 18 m long route.  Moreover, motorists will never be exposed to bad weather or darkness because the motorway will always be well lit. On the railway, the risk of a derailment is less because there are no switches. 

Ventilation will ensure that there is adequate fresh air in the tunnel and is an important component in the safety concept.  

The same principle for ventilation will be used as in the Øresund tunnel. The concept has been further developed so that it can be used in the Fehmarnbelt tunnel.  The equipment is simple, reliable and powerful and will have the capacity to handle both normal conditions and critical situations. The ventilators can blow in both directions and be controlled from the tunnel’s monitoring and control system.  
The ventilation system will not be in operation on a regular basis. Vehicles and trains will push the air in the tunnel out and suck fresh air in thereby ensuring air quality. The ventilation will be activated according to requirements, e.g. in the event of a slow traffic flow or if traffic comes to a standstill.

OVERALL, THE FEHMARNBELT TUNNEL WILL BE SAFER TO USE THAN EQUIVALENT ROUTES ON THE ROAD OR RAILWAY ON OPEN LAND, SHOWS THE COMPANY’S RISK ANALYSIS.

Did you know that...

... the tunnel is designed to withstand a fire at temperatures of at least 1350 degrees Celsius. 

... the tunnel will be monitored from the link’s control centre, which  will be located near the portal building on the Danish side of the Fehmarnbelt. Train operations will be monitored from the train traffic’s control centre in Copenhagen. The centres are in contact with each other and staffed around the clock. 


Monitoring round-the-clock

Traffic in the tunnel will be monitored from a manned control centre round-the-clock, and personnel will carry out regular patrols in the tunnel.  The monitoring will ensure that any irregularities in the tunnel will be rapidly discovered and attended to. Queuing can be averted via the tunnel’s computer controlled traffic management system with appropriate signage and a link to car radios. Femern A/S’ operational staff will check on the technical aspects and the police will manage the traffic itself from a control centre in Næstved. 

In addition, the Danish and German authorities are developing a safety and contingency concept for the tunnel, which will ensure a fast and efficient rescue effort should an accident occur.  

Report on risk prepared by Rambøll-Arup-TEC: Operational Risk Analysis September 2014