Although threatened by escalating oil prices and economic problems in Britain, work on the ambitious Channel Tunnel Project is proceeding apace.
LV Entrance to upper tunnel
GV Working in progress
GV Workers entering lower tunnel portal
Drilling in progress (4 shots)
GV Rubble out of tunnel on conveyor belt
GV Worksits outside tunnel entrance
Initials SC/2104 SC/2146
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Background: Although threatened by escalating oil prices and economic problems in Britain, work on the ambitious Channel Tunnel Project is proceeding apace.
The British Channel Tunnel Company recently reported that Stage Two of the project -- costing GBP 30 million ( 78 million U.S. dollars) -- was on schedule and that no major problems had been encountered.
With an estimated total cost of GBP 846 millions (2,0304.4 million U.S. dollars) the tunnel is expected to be opened in 1980. But already serious doubts have been cast on its final costs and the adverse affects it could have on the south-eastern English countryside.
SYNOPSIS: Despite an uncertain future, work on the historic Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France is proceeding apace. Two tunnels, which will eventually give engineers access to the main tunnels under the English Channel, are already half completed. English engineers say they have struck no major problems and say the drilling will be completed on schedule. But the engineering challenge could prove minor compared with the political and economic battles confronting the project in the near future.
The two largest problems facing the tunnel are the state of the British economy and the rapidly rising cost of oil. Already new Britain's Labour Government has initiated an in-depth examination of the whole project. Basically, the British Government is required to underwrite the massive loans needed to finance the project. But with the British economy in trouble the Government will be wary of incurring possible large losses. The massive increase in oil prices is also expected to upset the calculations on which the profitability of the tunnel has been based.
Already inflation has dealt a blow to the project, pushing up its estimated final cost by one hundred and thirty million pounds .. to almost one thousand million pounds.