The Eurotunnel that connects the UK and France opened 28 years ago today in 1994. The tunnel that runs underneath the Channel cost twice as much as expected at $16 billion, ran a year behind schedule, and caused ten deaths. Despite this, the Eurotunnel project forged ahead, employing 13,000 to 15,000 engineers, technicians and workers and amiably calling the rail going North to the UK, Le Shuttle, and the one going South to France, the Chunnel.
Was it worth it? Napolean’s engineer, Albert Mathieu (no relation that I know of), would likely say, yes, given his 1802 plan for a tunnel designed with chimneys coming out into the waves. The American Society for Civil Engineers also thought the Eurotunnel a worthy project, claiming the Eurotunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Since its construction there have also been some impressive stats, like the 80,000,000 vehicles that have crossed the Chunnel since its opening (that’s cars bumper to bumper to the moon and back), carrying people but also 380,000,000 tons of freight, amongst which were 26 million were roses. So yes, the numbers and roses all seem to indicate that the Eurotunnel was worth constructing in the end.
On this 28th anniversary since the opening of the Eurotunnel, we can triumph over rejoining the split nature created between the UK and the continent 8,500 years ago and thumb up at the rupture humans tried to make with Brexit in 2016. The Eurotunnel still connects. As today also marks the midpoint between Children’s Day (May 5th) and Mother’s Day (May 8th), it’s a day to celebrate the connection we have with our children, human or furry, and our mothers, who, I guess can also be furry? Whichever way we look, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Happy Children’s and Mother’s Days!
Children's Day Koinobori Carps
More infodata on Le Shuttle.