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If temperatures aren't like that, forget ice, but not broken-off blades. The bridge enclosure should be prety stiff to resist tons of material falling a hundred metres. With the enclosed bridge, you would have more or less the same safety, fire, and ventilation issues. (For the tunnel, it matters little if it is 5 or 100 km; as the two big Chunnel fires showed, what matters most for firefighter access and rescue is the direct vicinity of the fire, not the way there.)

As you say - cost is ultimately a Government decision, but I would see it as v. likely to be totally unaffordable for any Irish Government in the foreseeable future

There is the current budget crisis; but, you never know what governments are willing to waste money on. In the diary, I presented an example, the Koralmbahn: that little-justified project will cost the Austrian government €5.25 billion, while 3-4 other investments of a similar scale are on-going. (I estimate the Irish Sea Tunnel at €10-15 billion; for scale: the geologically much more difficult Gotthard Base Tunnel will cost around SFR9.7 billion = €6.5 billion). Another example: here in Hungary, the government maintained the big budget for highway construction even when public deficit exploded a few years back.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 02:31:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well we are currently planning on spending 54 Billion on bad bank assets (mostly loans secured on development/speculation property) optimistically valued at 47 Billion.  (plus perhaps another 12 Billion direct investment in banks to make them solvent) - so we are currently planning on "investing" a lot more money than would be required to build an Irish sea tunnel.

If by some miracle that level of value is ultimately recovered over the next 10 years we could perhaps do worse that using the proceeds to pay off some of the national debt and invest in some major infrastructural projects which reduces our long term dependence on CO2 intensive transportation.  The costs you outline don't seem outlandish, although the government has a track record of mismanaging infrastructural projects to the extent that they come in at two or three times the original budget.  

The Chunnel experience is not encouraging.  Have tunneling technologies, techniques, and cost factors improved dramatically since?  No doubt prevailing ideologies would require some PPP type funding architecture which would require a huge risk premium to attract private investment.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Chunnel overspending had in part financial reasons -- as I told at the start if my very first reply, if you want to avoid this, don't give the project to a private consortium that has something even worse than a bad record at managing big projects: no record and no experience at all. But yes, technologies improved; the Gotthad Base Tunnel is even longer than the Chunnel and is under up to 2000m rock with some rather difficult geology, but will cost less despite significant cost overruns too, see the figure I quoted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:33:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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