Harbour tunnel inches closer

A proposed harbour tunnel would reduce congestion in Copenhagen and create at least 3,300 jobs a year for seven years

November 7th, 2012 1:52 pm| by admin

A new harbour tunnel designed to reduce congestion in Copenhagen was approved yesterday by the City Council’s finance committee.

The tunnel, as proposed by the Transport Ministry, will cost 27 billion kroner and lead traffic from Nordhavn, in the north, under Copenhagen Harbour and resurface at the start of the Amager motorway, on the city's southern outskirts.

The tunnel is forecast to reduce the amount of traffic, particularly lorries, that travel through the city and make more room for local traffic.

“The project has been on the drawing board for many years and has now come a step closer,” mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) told the BNB newswire. “The project will reduce congestion and create more space for pedestrians, cyclists, and everything else that improves city life.”

According to BNB, two left-wing parties, Enhedslisten and Socialistisk Folkeparti, did not vote for the project, as they preferred that the money would be spent improving public transport.

“We think the harbour tunnel will create more traffic in Copenhagen so we think there are better ways to spend 27 billion kroner if reducing traffic is your goal,” Morten Kabell, an Enhedslisten city councillor, told BNB.

Jensen added that while he agreed that public transport needed improving, the tunnel was an important piece of improving the city's traffic infrastructure.

“Cars have come to stay and they are getting cleaner and cleaner,” Jensen said. “I think we are the only capital in Europe that accepts having part of the inner city function as a main traffic thoroughfare, which is why the tunnel will give more space in central Copenhagen.”

The tunnel will likely be funded through a so-called ‘public-private-partnership’ (PPP), between the council and a private investor. Pension funds, such as Sampension, have already expressed an interest in investing in it.

Construction industry lobby group, Dansk Byggeri, argues that a PPP to build the harbour tunnel could create at least 3,300 jobs a year for seven years.

The tunnel now needs to be approved by the city council, which is expected to sign off on it.

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