The feasibility study must find out whether it pays to build an undersea tunnel, what are the technical options in construction of the tunnel and the project’s potential impact on the environment. Safety issues will be examined, along with expected profitability, and alternatives such as developing ferry traffic will also be looked at.
This study is the first to be conducted on the state level and will focus on the tunnel’s socio-economical effects and geological analysis. The feasibility study is expected to be completed by February 2018.
Now, in June 2016, the EU granted €1 million for the study which is expected to be ready in early 2018.
Over 8 million passengers travel between Helsinki and Tallinn each year. It is estimated that some 60,000 Estonians work in Finland, most of whom travel home every weekend.
Much of the tunnel’s economic success will be founded on this work-based travel.
The preliminary feasibility study placed the price of a one-way ticket at 36 euros.
Geopolitically, the tunnel would connect two close but separated parts of the European Union in an environmentally friendly way, removing the need to use sea or air transport, or to travel through Russia. The Helsinki–Tallinn connection is part of the EU’s TEN-T network’s North Sea–Baltic corridor.
The preliminary feasibility report states that the 80-kilometre train track connecting the Pasila station in Helsinki with the Ülemiste station in Tallinn would entail three main expense categories.
“The tunnel excavation would require about 3 billion euros, and the technical and safety systems would swallow another 2-3 billion. The trains and other equipment would cost just over one billion euros, and another 1-3 billion has been reserved for anything unexpected that comes along,” says Ulla Tapaninen, a logistics and supply chain expert for the City of Helsinki.