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corti's tunnel

Hallandsås Tunnel

The Hallandsås Tunnel (Hallandsåstunneln), also known as the Hallandsås Ridge Tunnel or Scanlink, is a railway tunnel under construction in Sweden. The planned length is 8.5 km (5.3 miles). It will be located on the Västkustbanan (West Coast Railway), on the section between Ängelholm and Halmstad in southwestern Sweden. When finished, it will connect the city of Gothenburg, Sweden with Malmö, Sweden. Today there is a single track, curvy, steep railway over the ridge. The project was conceived by the European Round Table of Industrialists and the Swedish Railway Administration in the 1980s.

The construction began in 1992, and the traffic opening was originally planned for 1995. However, construction was plagued by major difficulties concerning large amounts of water seeping in from surrounding rock. Only small a fraction of this water leakage had been forseen. Additionally, a scandal broke out when it was learned that a poisonous sealing compound called "Rhoca-Gil" was used during construction. This substance was linked to the death of nearby livestock. Rhoca-Gil contains acrylamide, a toxic chemical that is mutagenic and possibly carcinogenic. The main contractor, Skanska, took no special precautions for the sealant. Also, it did not tell its own workers or the local population of the risks. By October 1997, local cattle and fish started dying. In addition, workers were becoming ill. The local press started an investigation. After tests were done showing the high levels of acrylamide contamination, the site was declared a high risk zone and the sale of agricultural products from the region was banned. The main contractor, Skanska, along with Rhone-Poulenc and Swedish Railways all had criminal charges brought against them. Some senior executives resigned as a result. Construction was halted in late 1997.

In 2005 construction resumed with a new completion date estimated at 2012, later updated to 2015. At the restart there were some delays which may again push back the completion date. The builders however, believe that they will be able to make up for lost time during construction.

Cost overrun has been large. The cost was expected in 1992 to be SEK 1 billion. The cost from 1992 to 1997 was in reality more than SEK 2 billion, for less than half the tunnel length. Since the remaining cost at the beginning of 2005 was calculated to be more than SEK 4 billion, there has been much debate and hesitation as to whether to halt or resume work. The total cost is likely to reach over SEK 10 billion before the project is finished, according to the latest calculation.

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