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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Northwestern city builds Poland’s longest underwater tunnel

16.09.2021 20:00
Poland’s northwestern city of Świnoujście has dredged an underwater tunnel linking two of its islands, a move described as “historic” by President Andrzej Duda, state news agency PAP reported on Thursday. 
President Andrzej Duda speaks during a tour of the new underwater tunnel in Świnoujście on Thursday.
President Andrzej Duda speaks during a tour of the new underwater tunnel in Świnoujście on Thursday.Photo: PAP/Jerzy Muszyński

Duda said the long-awaited causeway “will probably be unveiled in a year,” but drilling between the main two of Świnoujście’s dozens of islands, Uznam and Wolin, “is set to be completed in a matter of hours.”

The bridge under the river Świna “will make life easier, transport more efficient, the city more accessible to supplies,” while also linking Świnoujście up “with the rest of our country,”  the president told reporters.

“It truly is a historic event,” the Polish head of state said, thanking “all those who planned, built and financed the project.”

The tunnel reached Wolin island earlier on Thursday.

According to the Świnoujście authorities, the 1,780-metre underwater bridge, mostly dredged by a 105-metre-long 3,000-tonne tunnel-boring machine (TBM), will be the longest structure of its kind in Poland.

The China-produced machine has been drilling under the Świna since March, simultaneously laying down concrete rings which form the outer shell of the causeway.

Świnoujście has teamed up with the General Directorate for National Roads and Highways (GDDKiA) to supervise the project, which costs PLN 912 million (EUR 200 million, USD 235 million). The European Union has provided over PLN 775 million for the purpose, with the remaining sum shelled out by the city itself.

Work is expected to finish in the last quarter of 2022.

Photo: Photo: Marek Borawski/KPRP

The underwater causeway is designed to solve the island-based city’s transport problems. To date, Świnoujście’s multiple islands have been linked by ferries which, however, have insufficient capacity, resulting in often lengthy wait times for passengers, the PAP news agency PAP reported.

Moreover, such a mode of transport is weather-sensitive, experts say.

Wolin and Uznam, which are separated by the Świna, are the city’s two key islands. Uznam houses 80 percent of Świnoujście’s inhabitants, its administrative and service hub as well as the tourist-friendly seaside district.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP, prezydent.pl