The Channel Tunnel, also dubbed the Chunnel, is a tunnel situated underneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover, linking England and France since 1994. In 1996, the given tunnel was chosen as one of the Wonders of the world by the American Society of Civil Engineers due to its unprecedented construction. The construction has been thoroughly analyzed based on system engineering life cycle model.
The idea of linking England and France was firstly proposed by Albert Mathieu, a French mining engineer, in 1802. From his point of view, it should have served demands on transporting goods as well as folks. His project suggested building a tunnel propped up by wood beams and also illuminated by candles so that horse drawn carriages could cover their twenty mile trip between the nations.
However, that idea was neglected until revived in 1857 by Thome de Gamond. Further researchers were carried out by the Channel Tunnel Study Group, 1957. Then, in November 1973, the updated project of the construction as well as the operations of a railway tunnel under the Channel Tunnel Study Group was officially launched at Chequers by British Prime Minister, Edward Heath and Georges Pompidou, French President. For this purpose a Franco-British Channel Tunnel Treaty was signed.
After a couple of attempts to dig the tunnel underneath, the process was suspended because of the spreading of Rabies diseases in 1902, the British fears of French invasion in 1883 as well as economic recession in fuel in 1973. In the 1980s, the Chunnel project was brought to reality. The project tender was awarded to a private company dubbed TransManche Link for the construction contract, while Bechtel took responsibility for the engineering, procurement, construction and project management services.
The digging of the Chunnel burst out simultaneously in 1988 from the British sides close to Shakespeare Cliff outside of Dover as well as the French sides near the village of Sangatte coasts, with the finished tunnel meeting in the middle. After six years of construction, the Channel tunnel was completed and grandly opened for business in a formal dedication with active participation of British Queen Elizabeth II along with French President Francois Mitterand.
Before the development of this promising project, traveling between France and England was quite limited and the primary means of transportation through the English Channel were boats and ferries. It was inconvenient and time consuming. By creating a permanent link, the Chunnel project gave birth to a trouble-free transportation of goods and people between the two nations.
The Channel Tunnel, also dubbed the Chunnel, is a tunnel situated underneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover, linking England and France since 1994. In 1996, the given tunnel was chosen as one of the Wonders of the world by the American Society of Civil Engineers due to its unprecedented construction.