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.

 

An extraordinary meeting: Gulf ministers agree to end tension with Qatar

US releases $450 million Iranian frozen assets

‘Retaliation is life’ group vows to attack Egypt security forces

Gunmen storm South Sudan UN base killing 20

Malaysia activists: Obama you are not welcome here!

Kidnappers of Tunisian diplomat demand jailed Libyans release

Landmine blasts Tunisia soldier amid growing jihadist threat

Marzouki sets an 'example' by cutting salary by two-thirds

Rouhani: Iran does not intend to be aggressive but can defend itself

Turkey to Russia: We demand a gas price revision

For Massacre-scarred Algeria village, peace is worth more than wealth

An act of heroism: Iraq policeman sacrifices himself to shield army recruits

UK ‘determined to catch’ killer of Libya embassy policewoman

Experts: Washington demanded removal of Saudi spy chief

Future of Algeria on wheelchair

Palestinians rally for solidarity with Israel-held prisoners

Turkey may clinch bid to dismantle Italy’s wrecked ship

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators to hold meeting with US envoy

UN ‘gravely concerned’ about South Sudan oil state fighting

South Sudan war: Child soldiers consumed by desire for retribution

Algerians casting their vote for president

Syria world’s most perilous country fro journalists

Egypt jails ex-presidential hopeful for fraud

Egypt leftist leader urges all revolutionary groups to unite

Jordan ‘destroyed’ combat vehicles entering from Syria

South Sudan army loses key oil town of Bentiu

Lebanon parliament soon to elect new president

Zarif to discuss Caspion Sea states in Russia

MERS spreading in Saudi Arabia

Algeria finally opens its piggybank to lure back exiled youth

Suicide bombs rock Ramadi government compound

Three Palestinians killed in Gaza blast

Peace talks delayed after Palestine blamed for fatal shooting

Palestinians clash with Israeli police in Al-Aqsa

Undercover New York police unit that spied on Muslims disbanded

Washington will not issue visa for Iran UN envoy

British paedophile gets 20-year sentence in Morocco

Syria army fights its way into besieged Homs

Invisible Bouteflika urges Algerians to vote

Saudi Arabia replaces powerful intelligence chief

Benflis mobilizes ‘army’ to monitor Algeria election

Syria army advances on rebel-held neighbourhoods in Homs

Egypt court bans any Brotherhood candidacies in upcoming elections

Turkey rights groups sound alarm at plan to build gay-only prisons

Kuwait coup plot video ‘neither genuine nor reliable’