14th July 2009

Jersey to France tunnel under discussion

The States of Jersey revealed that it was investigating the feasibility of a 14-mile tunnel between the island and France. Unlike the Channel Tunnel, which had been dug through a layer of chalk between France and the mainland, this would be constructed by dropping sections of a concrete tube on the seabed and covering them over.

The resulting tunnel would provide for both road and rail traffic and should, in theory, help bolster the Jersey economy without increasing the local population, as locals from either end of the link could easily work or day trip to the other. The French newspaper, Ouest France, later described the potential tunnel as a “serpent de mer”, or snake of the sea.

A plan with history

Although the plans were under active discussion in mid-July 2009, they hadn’t appeared from nowhere. The Jersey Evening Post reported on investigations into the feasibility of a bridge or tunnel costing 1.5 billion euros in October the previous year, revealing that environment minister Freddie Cohen had met with the engineer behind the 16-mile Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo.

A BBC report quoted Jersey resident Peter Walsh who claimed that a bridge could be further used to mount wind turbines to generate electricity, and incorporate fuel lines, while also reducing the cost of moving freight between Jersey and France.

Further talks planned

On 14 July 2009, the BBC further reported that active talks were taking place between deputy Rob Duhamel, the States assistant minister for planning and environment, and French politicians, with an emphasis on identifying what the local benefit would be. Further talks were scheduled for September.

However, this is a plan that has rumbled on for years, in various forms, and it seems no further forward now than when first proposed. If it ever comes to fruition it will likely have a more significant impact on Jersey than it would on France. Quite what the impact will be is difficult to predict.


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Other events that occured in July