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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsSociety$15 Billion Mega-Tunnel to Link Finland and Estonia Would Be World's Longest

$15 Billion Mega-Tunnel to Link Finland and Estonia Would Be World’s Longest

If the Finland-Estonia undersea tunnel goes ahead it will be the longest in the world. Credit: Midjourney for GreekReporter

A new, $15 billion giga-project tunnel that will be the longest in the world is hanging in the balance, and if built, will link Tallinn in Estonia with Helsinki, in Finland, two countries currently only linked by ferry and plane.

The enormous project, which could see the construction of the world’s longest railway tunnel, known as the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel or the FinEst tunnel, is a proposed undersea infrastructure project that – according to initial plans – would connect the capital cities of Finland and Estonia.

The tunnel’s ultimate length would be dependent on the route chosen, and the shortest option for this project would see the creation of a tunnel with a submarine length alone of 50 miles.

The transit project, which could potentially be as long as 62 miles, would be much longer than the current longest railway tunnel in the world – the 40-mile-long Gotthard Base Tunnel, which runs across the Swiss Alps.

The FinEst tunnel may cost anywhere between $9 billion and $16 billion, various reports published on the project over the years have claimed. Both capital cities have put up $100,000 for preparatory studies towards the project, but the relevant ministeries of each country have said they will not grant any funding.

Will the Estonia-Finland Tunnel Go Ahead?

The capital for the project was offered by China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative which aims to invest in infrastructure development worldwide. But the Estonian government rejected Beijing’s offer. In a statement in July 2020, Estonia’s then Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab gave “environmental, economic and security reasons” as his answer to why the project was not viable.

A huge leap forward for FinEst came in April 2021, when the Estonian and Finlandian governments signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual cooperation in the transport sector and large-scale transport projects. However, the agreement did not concretize any commitment from either county to move forward with the project.

Any hopes that the tunnel would come to fruition soon were crushed by the Finnish Minister of Transport and Communication Lulu Ranne, who, speaking to Estonian daily Postimees in February said she does not think the Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel is a “realistic plan.”

The two European capitals are at present linked by ferry, with trips taking around two hours, and by plane. A tunnel would make travel between Finland and Estonia much easier by removing the need for sea and air transport and the need to travel through Russia.

The economic benefits would be significant, both in terms of increased connections and economic integration between the two cities (the Øresund Region has been offered as an example), but also in a wider context of convenient passenger train connections between Southern Finland and the Baltic states, and a fixed link for freight from across Finland on to the Rail Baltica, thus providing a rail freight connection with the rest of Europe.

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