Brazil's first immersed tunnel to be built

7 May 2013

Royal HaskoningDHV has been contracted for an immersed tunnel of more than 500m for Brazil's largest seaport in Santos. The contract is worth EUR 5M (USD 6.5M) and will directly link the cities of Santos and Guarujá.

The advice provided by the engineers was instrumental in the decision by authorities in São Paulo to opt for an immersed tunnel, Royal HaskoningDHV stated. A bridge was ruled out due to the costs and the adverse impact on the city. The tunnel is expected to relieve the burden on the existing passenger ferry services and significantly reduce driving time for freight vehicles, that must currently make a detour of 50km when travelling to and from the port.

The technology required for immersed tunnels is highly developed in the Netherlands and has been used for projects in the Netherlands including the Second Coen Tunnel in Amsterdam, the Second Benelux Tunnel in Rotterdam and two tunnels in the route of the HSL-Zuid high-speed rail link. Immersed tunnels are also under construction at various other places in the world. The Brazilian authorities, via the government agency DERSA, selected the experienced Dutch engineers because this is the first such tunnel in Brazil. Royal HaskoningDHV will lead the design process and oversee its content.

Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen+Bos have been partnering in major international tunnel projects for 25 years in a partnership called Tunnel Engineering Consultants (TEC). Current immersed tunnel projects include the Fehmarnbelt between Denmark and Germany (19km tunnel), the Busan-Geoje Link in South Korea (3.4km), the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Link in China (6km) and the Coatzacoalcos tunnel in Mexico (1.5km).