Świnoujście a city in northwest Poland known as ‘the land of 44 islands’, has announced construction of a tunnel under the Świna river to connect the city’s two largest islands, Uznam and Wolin.
“I am glad that I can participate in this ceremony, as it is of symbolic meaning for Poland, for Poland’s unification…I believe in Poland’s capabilities, I believe that through investment projects such as this one, we can unify Poland not just in the material, infrastructural sense, but also in a symbolic sense – by connecting people,” said Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister.
The construction of the 1.76 kilometre structure will make life much easier for the inhabitants of Świnoujście, who to date have had to resort to using a ferry service to commute between the two islands. The total cost of the investment is 213 million euro, of which 181 million euro will be funded by the EU.
While the construction of a bridge would usually be more cost effective and quicker, in this case it is not a viable solution. Świnoujście provides a maritime gateway to Szczecin, and the two cities make up the second largest port complex in Poland after Gdansk and Gdynia.
Świnoujście is also home to Polskie LNG, which operates Poland’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, in operation since 2016. Due to the sheer number of vessels traversing the Świna river to and from the terminal, it would be impossible to build a bridge.
The tunnel should be open by 2022.