First Published: 2008-09-29

 
Doubts cast over Spain-Morocco undersea tunnel plan
 

New geological study reveals two clay sections under sea would make it difficult to build tunnel.

 

Middle East Online

Further tests would add an extra billion dollars to the project’s cost

MADRID - A new geological study has cast doubt on the feasibility of a project to build an undersea rail tunnel across the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, a Spanish news report said Sunday.

Two clay sections under the sea would make it difficult to build the tunnel, the El Pais newspaper said, quoting a study recently presented to the Spanish public company SECEG, which is in charge of the project along with Morocco's SNED.

"It is not clear whether it will be possible," SECEG president Angel Aparicio said.

An engineer working on the project, Andrea Panciera, also said there were "huge uncertainties" and proposed building an exploratory tunnel from the Moroccan side up to the clay sections in order to carry out tests, El Pais quoted him as saying.

But such an option would add an extra billion dollars to the cost of the project, which is currently budgeted at five billion dollars (3.4 billion euros), and delay the start of construction by about eight years, it said.

"It is practically impossible to find an alternative solution," the paper said.

Rabat and Madrid commissioned a new study on the project in 2006, after a first plan was abandoned in the 1990s.

The mooted tunnel would be 38.7 kilometres long with 28 kilometres running some 400 metres (1,200 feet) under sea level.

 

Syria nearly completes surrendering chemical weapons

Netanyahu: Unity with Hamas ‘giant leap backward’ for peace

Kuwait MPs seek to question PM over alleged corruption

UK reaches out to Muslim women to prevent Syria jihad ‘tragedies’

Cleaner power starts being generated in southwestern Morocco

Thirteen killed in Iraq car bomb attack

Yemen Qaeda militants seize hospitals to treat wounded

Second-ranking US diplomat warns of rising extremism in Libya

Algeria blogger who ‘mocked’ Bouteflika goes free on bail

Syria army launches deadly air raid on market area in Aleppo

Armenia leader accuses Ankara of 'utter denial' on genocide

Mauritanian president will stand for re-election

Washington easing aid freeze to Cairo

France, US mull sanctions against South Sudan

Israel weighs response to Palestinian unity deal

South Sudan leader sacks army chief

Jordan amends anti-terror law to curb Jihadist threat

Netayahu to Abbas: Does you want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel?

Bahrain expels representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Witnesses in Morsi trial: Hamas and Hezbollah attacked Egypt prisons

Family of detained Al-Jazeera reporter in Egypt call for his release

Bomb targets convoy of Education Minister in north Iraq

After Ervin scandal, Iran Prisons Chief becomes Head of Justice Department

Egypt FM travels to US as Washington relaxes hold on military aid

No Qatar ‘concessions’ on end of dispute with fellow Gulf states

US diplomat visits Libya amid political upheaval

Blair calls on West to combat ‘growing’ danger of Islamist extremism

Jarba asks Saudi Arabia to increase support for Syria rebels

Better late than never: Erdogan offers condolences over mass WWI killings of Armenians

Hezbollah veto dashes Geagea dreams of presidency

UN aid chiefs make impassionate call for Syria access

Police brigadier general killed in Cairo bomb attack

11 new MERS infections registered in Saudi

EU denounces Syria plans for June 3 election

Iran envoy row fails to make headway at UN

Amnesty: Qatar fails to protect domestic workers

US will deliver 10 Apache choppers to Egypt to counter terrorism

US expresses horror at South Sudan violence

Egypt's next president will have to deal with frustrated workers

Rival Palestinian leaders agree on national unity govt

Jumblatt backs lawmaker Henri Helou for Lebanon presidency

Global chemical watchdog: Syria weapons handover at 86.5 percent

Kerry ‘prefers’ Cold War-like situation to current complex challenges

Israel to call up Christian Arabs for military service

Egypt prosecutors submit new evidence in Jazeera trial