The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, assured that it is a "strategic project for Spain and Morocco, and also for Europe and Africa."
Within the General State Budgets for 2023, the last public accounts of the legislature, the Government of Spain included an item of 750,000 euros, charged to the Ministry of Transport, which will go to the Spanish Society of Studies for Fixed Communication to through the Strait of Gibraltar (Secegsa) to analyze the connection of the Strait of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco.
An investment aimed at studying the possible construction of a tunnel that would link southern Europe and northern Africa, in the best of cases, from the period between 2030 and 2040. The analysis of its feasibility would be carried out by the German firm Herrenknecht, a multinational company specialized in the manufacture of tunnels and the largest in the world in its sector. In 2018, this German company already revealed in a study carried out together with the University of Zurich (Switzerland), the possibility of building an underwater tunnel between Tarifa and Tangier.
This project, which has not yet been put on the table and about which there is nothing firm, was one of the points discussed at the last Spanish-Moroccan summit headed by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the head of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, Aziz Akhannouch, which was also attended by other ministers of the Executive. The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, described the project as "strategic" for both countries, and also for Europe and Africa.
"We are going to promote the studies of the Strait of Gibraltar Fixed Link Project that both countries began forty years ago," the minister specified. In this sense, it is not the first time that Spain and Morocco debate the possibility of uniting their territories. In 1979, the "Scientific and Technical Cooperation" treaty was signed to carry out a feasibility study of a fixed link across the Strait. As a result of this treaty, Secegsa was created in Spain and its counterpart in Morocco, the SNED (Société Nationale d'Études du Détroit de Gibraltar).
The Joint Commission was also created, made up of five Spanish and five Moroccan ministers, which meets semi-annually both in Spain and in the North African country, and in which the two aforementioned companies also collaborate. This collaboration has been strengthened since 1989 and is currently gaining more strength as a result of the latest studies carried out. As for Segecsa, it was already included in the Recovery Plan prepared by the Government for the year 2021.
In the meeting that Sánchez held with his Moroccan counterpart, the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Mohammed Abdeljalil, and also with the Minister of Infrastructure and Water, Nizar Baraka, he learned first-hand the bases of high-speed forecasts in Morocco, as well as such as ports, airports or water management facilities. "Spain supports Morocco in its ambitious strategy to provide itself with an infrastructure network that places it as a leader in its region," he stated.
Features of the future tunnel
As for the tunnel, it would have a total length of 42 kilometers, of which 27.8 kilometers would be underwater and the rest would run through an underground tunnel. It would consist of a railway line with shuttle trains for the transport of goods and passengers. According to 'La Razón', the connection would be established between Punta Paloma, in Tarifa, and Punta Malabata, in the bay of Tangier.
Likewise, the aforementioned newspaper reports that the maximum depth of the tunnel will be 300 meters and the maximum slope will be 3%, while each single-track tunnel will have an internal diameter of 7.9 meters. The chosen area, called "Threshold of the Strait or Threshold of Camarinal", is due to the shallower depth of the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, which would cause fewer inconveniences for the construction of the tunnel. The aforementioned newspaper also indicated in its information that it would be built in two phases.
The first, with a single single-tube railway tunnel, through which trains would circulate in both directions and alternately in batches of 12 convoys, while the second phase would be carried out with two unidirectional railway tunnels. There would also be a service and security gallery for maintenance work, which would also be available to rescue teams in case an evacuation was necessary.