Western Scheldt Tunnel (Dutch: Westerscheldetunnel) is a 6.6-kilometre (4.1 mi) tunnel in the Netherlands that carries highway N62 under the Western Scheldt estuary between Ellewoutsdijk and Terneuzen. It is the longest tunnel for highway traffic in The Netherlands.
The tunnel was built by a consortium of Franki Construct, Heijmans, Royal BAM Group, Philipp Holzmann, TBI Beton- en Waterbouw Voormolen and Wayss & Freytag on behalf of NV Westerscheldetunnel (the Western Scheldt Tunnel Company) 100% ownership by the province of Zeeland. The tunnel was opened on 14 March 2003. Since then the automobile ferry between Flushing (Vlissingen), Breskens, Kruiningen and Perkpolder operated by the Provincial Steamboat Service (Provinciale Stoombootdiensten) in Zeeland has been discontinued.
The Western Scheldt Tunnel is a bored tunnel and consists of two tubes which were excavated by a tunnel boring machine. Each tube has room for two driving lanes, but does not have a hard shoulder. Every 250 metres, the two tunnel tubes are connected to each other by lateral connections. Normally the cross-connections are closed and locked. But in an emergency, the doors will automatically be unlocked. The traffic in the left driving lane in the other tunnel will be stopped to allow people to walk safely to the other tunnel.
The Western Scheldt Tunnel is 11.3 metres (37 ft) diameter, 6.6 kilometres (4.1 mi) long and has, on the south end, a length of over 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), a section of the road with an uphill grade of 4.5%. The maximum clearance is 4.30 metres (14.1 ft). The tunnel reaches its deepest point under the Pas van Terneuzen, 60 metres (200 ft) below water level.
The toll for the tunnel is collected near Borssele for both directions.
The tunnel is not accessible for pedestrians, cyclists or moped riders; however, there are bus services, and upon request (one hour in advance) bicycles and mopeds can be transported in the bus and a trailer, respectively. New public transport nodes are Tolplein (mun. Borsele) on the north bank and Terneuzen Busstation on the south bank. Bus services through these nodes, provided by Connexxion, are:Bus 20: Goes-Tolplein-Terneuzen bus station-Sluiskil-Sas van Gent-Zelzate (Flanders)
Bus 50: between Middelburg and Hulst
The regular bus fare applies.Cars: €5.00
Cars with caravan: €7.45
Small trucks, campers and buses: €18.20
Large trucks: €25.00
Emergency vehicles and military vehicles are toll free.
Reduced tolls are available for subscribers (respectively €3.05, €4.55, €11.15 and €15.25). That is more expensive than the ferry over the Western Scheldt that operated before the tunnel was opened. As well, there is no reduced toll for residents of Zeelandic Flanders (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen).
Correct as of 12/04/2014
In April 2006, Zeelandic Flanders citizens in cooperation with the Socialist Party of Terneuzen established the Lawsuit Committee Tunnel Toll Free (Actiecomité TunnelTolvrij.nl). The purpose of this lawsuit is first to oppose the sale of the tunnel and secondly to make the tunnel toll free.