"Built, built and finally built"

One of the first about the need to build a tunnel under the English Channel (or, as the British prefer to say, under the English Channel) said an engineer from France, Albert Mathieu-Favier in 1802. He even developed a project that suggested that horse-drawn carriages could pass through the tunnel. The lighting on the underwater section of the path was to be carried out using oil lamps. Also, Mathieu-Favier designed the ventilation system: he proposed to make special vents leading to the surface of the water.

Napoleon seriously interested in the ideas of the engineer, but in those years the opportunity to put them into practice did not appear: the work on such a project required the participation of both parties, and in the conditions of war it was not possible. Moreover, the UK reacted to these developments with extreme caution. It seemed to state representatives that the creation of a tunnel could negatively affect the security of the country. The Mathieu-Favier project has been shelved.

Project engineer Mathieu-Favier

After some time, mining engineer Tome de Gamon (again, by the way, a Frenchman) developed the concept of a tunnel with 13 ventilation pipes. Another of his ideas was the bridge, whose supports were to be on bulk islands. But these projects were not destined to be realized.

In the late 1850s, talk about the construction of the tunnel resumed. However, this time to no avail. It is known that when Lord Palmerston studied the project proposed to him, he indignantly asked: “What? Do you still dare to ask for money for a business whose goal is to shorten the distance, which we think is already too short? ”However, in 1860, the French Emperor Napoleon III and the British Queen Victoria finally approved the draft tunnel, which was supposed to be a prefabricated box-shaped structure located at the bottom of the strait. Approved to soon again abandon the idea.

Project de Hamon

In the 1870s, the idea of ​​building a tunnel caught fire British engineer Peter William Barlow, one of the developers of the London Metro project - by the way, the first in the world. He, along with his like-minded person, Sir John Hoxho, even began to raise funds for the creation of the tunnel, but this time the idea did not come true: the concept of Barlow, who proposed placing a steel pipe at the bottom, was not approved.

In the 1880s, the ice finally broke: drilling began on both sides of the strait. When each country advanced into the tunnel by about two thousand meters, construction was discontinued at the request of the United Kingdom. The British were haunted by the idea that, because of the tunnel, opponents from mainland Europe could easily get into the territory of their state. In 1922, another 128 meters were drilled from the UK.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the island nation did not decide to continue construction precisely for security reasons. And this, of course, was a grain of common sense. To talk about further work, the UK returned only more than ten years after the end of the Second World War. Now it was all about finances - upon closer inspection, the construction of the tunnel turned out to be an even more expensive enterprise than could have been supposed.

Only in 1987, both sides began construction, which was finally destined to be completed. In 1994, the grand opening of the tunnel, connecting the British Folkestone and the French Calais. Soon the project was recognized by members of the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the modern wonders of the world.

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