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Germany and Denmark Sign Agreement to Build Fehmarnbelt Bridge
Fehmarnbelt bridge.

COPENHAGEN.- Germany and Denmark agreed upon a treaty concerning construction of a fixed link across Fehmarnbelt. The Fehmarn Belt bridge is a project to connect the German island of Fehmarn with the Danish island of Lolland with a bridge crossing the 18-kilometre (11 mi) wide Fehmarn Belt in the Baltic Sea. It is expected to be completed 2018.

The bridge will have a total length of approximately 19 km (12 mi) and will be constructed as a triple-span cable-stayed bridge with each of the three spans being 724 metres (2,375 ft) long. The four pillars carrying the bridge will be approximately 280 m (919 ft) tall. The vertical clearance will be 65 m (213 ft) allowing sea traffic to and from the Baltic Sea to go beneath it.

The design involves four road lanes and two rail tracks. The latest cost estimate is DKK 42 bn (EUR 5 bn) including EUR 1.5 bn for other improvements such as electrifying and rebuilding 160 km (99 mi) of railway from single to double track and new bridges at Fehmarn Sound (1 km) and Storstrøm (above 3 km/about 2 miles).

The bridge will shorten the rail journey from Hamburg to Copenhagen from 4¾ to 3½ hours.

The project is comparable to the Øresund Bridge, the Great Belt Bridge or plans for the Strait of Messina Bridge and will be the largest planned infrastructure project in Northern Europe. The route is the main connection between Hamburg, (Hamburg Metropolitan Region), and Copenhagen/Malmö, (Øresund Region); (in German: Vogelfluglinie, in Danish: fugleflugtslinjen) as well as further destinations in Scandinavia.

On 29 June 2007, an interim agreement was reached in Berlin between the Danish and German authorities (represented by their transport ministers) to proceed with the construction of the bridge. Details provided by Danmarks Radio state that the Fehmarn Belt bridge will run 19 km (12 mi) from a point about 2 km (1 mi) west of Rødby in Denmark to Puttgarden on the island of Fehmarn which is already connected by bridge to the German mainland. Construction will start in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The bridge will be financed by state-guaranteed loans, which will be paid by the road and train fees. Denmark will be solely responsible for guaranteeing the funding of the project at an estimated cost of DKK 35 billion or EUR 4.7 billion. German participation will be limited to the development of the land-based facilities on the German side. Denmark will own the bridge outright, will be allowed to keep the fees after the loans have been paid, and will enjoy any employment opportunities at the toll station. The agreement reached between the transport ministers will need to be ratified by the national parliaments leading to a bilateral treaty but no difficulties are expected.

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