Construction work on the planned tunnel for the Polish islands of Uznam and Wolin will commence in 2021. The islands lie on Poland’s Baltic Coast and this €184 million tunnel project is intended to improve transport connections in the area. The ferries used at present are ageing and are no longer able to cope adequately with the number of vehicles using the crossing. Up to 11,000 vehicles/day make the crossing during peak summer months, with around 2 million vehicles/year making the trip by ferry at present.
A 12m diameter TBM will be used to drive the 1.4km tunnel and the project also includes constructing 2km of connecting roads. Preparatory work for the TBM has yet to be carried out, which includes building the starting chamber from where the machine will commence its drive and the receiving chamber where it will complete its operations. The necessary permits for the project should be awarded in late 2019 while the tunnel drive should be complete in the third quarter of 2022.
Building the new tunnel will help develop tourism on the islands, which are already a popular destination for holiday makers due to 42km of beaches, with visitors coming predominantly from Poland and neighbouring Germany.
The island of Usedom/Uznam is itself split between German and Polish territory, with around 80% of the land belonging to the former. The border between the two countries lies on the island, which is situated beside the Szczecin Lagoon estuary, fed into by the River Oder.