Finland-Estonia tunnel faces years of delay

16 June 2020

Following an unexpected decision by Finnish policy makers, the undersea tunnel proposed to link Finland with Estonia could face a delay of up to seven years. This follows a vote by Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council in favour of an alternative alignment to that proposed by the developer.

Rather than route the tunnel under Espoo, which is adjacent to Helsinki, the council opted for an alignment passing through the capital’s city centre and Pasila, and on to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Developer Peter Vesterbacka’s company Finest Bay Area Development is expected to lodge an appeal, a process which, even in a best-case scenario, could add 18 months to the now unrealistic 2024 completion date. Last year, the Tallinn government had voiced concerns over the project’s environmental impact and its implausible completion date.

Dubbed the ‘Talsinki’ tunnel, the 100km-long rail project would connect the Finnish mainland with the Estonian capital, Tallinn and include a man-made island along the way. Measured purely in terms of its approximate 50km undersea length, the tunnel will be the world’s longest – longer than both the Channel and Seikan tunnels. China’s Touchstone Capita Partners has pledged US$17bn of funding for the project.