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Old November 27th, 2008, 09:29 PM   #1
Morsue
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Strait of Gibraltar - Craziest design ever?

Since 1980 the governments of Spain and Morocco have been looking for a way to construct a fixed connection past the strait of Gibraltar. First a road connection was proposed and then more recently a railway tunnel has been the most likely option. But a few weeks ago a railway tunnel was deemed unlikely because there are a few layers of clay which could potentially end all plans for a railway tunnel. Instead US architect Eugene Tsui has come up with a design that looks like it's taken out of a science fiction novel.



In the middle of the strait he wants to put an artificial floating island which is to be an oasis of ecology. There will be approximately 180 wind turbines and lots of underwater tidal turbines which would potentially create enough energy to power the entire province of Cadiz in southern Spain or the nation of Morocco.

I think it sounds surreal, but it's by far the coolest solution I've ever seen. 24 lanes for automobile traffic, 6 rail tracks (4 regular, 2 high speed) and pedestrian lanes.

For more info on the proposal: http://www.tdrinc.com/gibraltar.htm
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Old November 27th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #2
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24 lanes is a lot
Very futuristic, looks good, but IMO it's one of those "sounds good but is never gonna be built in the next decade" plan, just like a tunnel under the Bering Strait.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 09:44 PM   #3
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24 lanes? That says enough about this plan. ->
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Old November 27th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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Better solution:

One lane, and a railway, just as simple as that

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Old November 27th, 2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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24 lanes is way OTT, but I do believe in a fixed link across the Gibraltar strait in the coming decades. Possibly just rail, though.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:05 PM   #6
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24 lanes is way OTT, but I do believe in a fixed link across the Gibraltar strait in the coming decades. Possibly just rail, though.
I don't know, the Channel Tunnel also wasn't such a success financially. Ferries are still used a lot.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #7
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I don't know, the Channel Tunnel also wasn't such a success financially. Ferries are still used a lot.
Certainly, but it's the kind of prestige project that will eventually become a reality, I believe. I would like to see a road link, the problem is that you can't make a tunnel: the proposed rail alignment is too long for a road tunnel (40+ kms, I think), the strait itself too deep (800 m). Thus, only some form of bridge is the only option, and such a beast would require spectacular new engineering which will be far more expensive than a more tried and tested railway tunnel.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #8
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I don't think that it will be ever built. If the Channel Tunnel, which links two of the most important world cities and a has a high potential traffic from/to Britain and continental Europe, generates no benefits, imagine how expensive this tunnel can be if it crosses two different tectonic plates and it's quite far from any big city.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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From the web site:

What about traffic congestion for the 60 or more million travelers who will cross the bridge? There are 24 lanes total for motor vehicle traffic; 8 lanes for automobile traffic in each direction and 4 lanes for trucks and buses. 4 standard train tracks and 2 high speed trains complete the motor vehicle accommodations. In addition, 5 elevated 30 meter wide pedestrian lanes accommodate people who wish to walk, bicycle, ride camels and horses. Lush gardens, trees, flowers, waterfalls, rest areas and drinking fountains surround all pedestrian areas which are raised one meter above motor vehicle lanes for safety. The bridge is designed to be an experience and destination in itself with an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 traveling daily and 500,000 persons at peak seasons and special days of the year.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:19 PM   #10
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A road would be a success in summer, because of all Moroccans visiting Morocco during that period. I don't know if there is lots of traffic during other months, but if it is, it might eventually become a success.

-edit- Seen some figs now in the post above
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:20 PM   #11
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The problem is people are not used to pay the real price for rail transport. They are used to subsidized fares. In the Netherlands, only 1st class full price without discounts nears the real price of the trip. Ofcourse, nearly everyone travels 2nd class with discounts, hence the huge amount of subsidies. Especially on this kind of engineering, the fares have to be much higher than general train fares to make back some money.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:22 PM   #12
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150.000 - 300.000 vehicles a day seems nuts to me. The problem is many major infrastructural projects are overestimated at usage to justify the costs.

Google on "Flyvbjerg megaprojects" for instance.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #13
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A rail tunnel gives other psychological problems. See the Channel Tunnel. When you want to take your car on the train you have to buy a ticket, wait for the train, put your car on the train, wait for the train to leave, cross the Channel, wait for the people in front of you to drive out of the train and then leave yourself. When you have a road, you drive there, wait a few minutes for the toll booth, drive and you're on the other side. I'm not sure if that plays a big role for many people, but this is just how I think about it.



Or am I just crazy?
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Old November 27th, 2008, 10:40 PM   #14
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The funny thing of this project as described on the web site is the price: "only" 8 billion euros. Considering the amount of electricity to be generated it's not hard to justify this project economically.

I'm just wondering one thing: What happens if a submarine rams a tunnel tube?
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Old November 28th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #15
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Then you have a very nice underwater pool, accesible from both ends of the tunnel
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Old November 28th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I'm just wondering one thing: What happens if a submarine rams a tunnel tube?
This has actually been taken into consideration in Norwegian models, since there were serious plans for a floating tunnel here a few years ago. That project has since been dropped, but the idea lives, particularly since we need roads to cross pretty wide (2 km+) and also very deep fjords (600-1300 metres) where tunnels are impossible and suspension bridges become too expensive. No concrete plans, though, but give it a decade...
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Old November 28th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #17
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Wasn't there a plan of building a 15km long bridge? I remember watching about this on Discovery channel.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
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A rail tunnel gives other psychological problems. See the Channel Tunnel.
Maybe the different drive-side is a bigger problem in case of chunnel...

(at least I wouldnt dare to drive in GB... )
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Old November 28th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #19
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A flyover isn't very difficult to make. The same with the new HSL-trains in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the Netherlands the trains drive on the right side, in Belgium on the left. At the border they're building a flyover now.
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Old November 28th, 2008, 07:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
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A flyover isn't very difficult to make.
yes it isnt, but I meant the "psychological problem" is not the lost time on shuttle but the different drive-side...

the lost time on shuttle only affects the commuters (are there any?)
in case of tourist it doesnt matter...

Quote:
The same with the new HSL-trains in the Netherlands and Belgium. In the Netherlands the trains drive on the right side, in Belgium on the left. At the border they're building a flyover now.
wow. thats interesting...
our HÉV (agglomeration train in budapest) do the same: drive on the left...
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