Khaiwoon Marapura Vehicular Tunnel Authority (KMVTA)

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The Khaiwoon Marapura Vehicular Tunnel Authority or KMVTA is an international organization that is investigating various options to link Khaiwoon with Gobrassanya and the Gobras Peninsula via a vehicular tunnel. The tunnel would traverse the Santa Rosa Strait which at its narrowest point is 9 miles (14.5km) across, however due to trajectory and portal sites the tunnel could be as long as 16 miles (25km). Portions of the tunnel would be precast and laid into a cut in the seabed while other portions of the tunnel would be floating sections. The tunnel would be built in sections with several transition areas to provide a rest area and visual relief due to the length of the tunnel.

Another possible option is to look into building a bridge-tunnel hybrid crossing consisting of 2 bridge sections leading either end of the tunnel. Two portal islands would need to be built offshore with this tunnel option.

Purpose and Need

Road Freight and Vehicle transportation currently has to navigate the ferry terminals and clear customs on both the Khaiwoon and Gobrassanya ports. In addition wait times for ferries delay traffic considerably. The estimated time savings could be nearly 4 to 6 times faster than it currently takes to navigate the ferries and terminals.

Tolls

A toll would be charged to cross using the tunnel which would be used by the KMVTA to pay back any transportation bonds used to fund the project. Toll revenues would also be used to help maintain the roadway and cover administration costs. The toll plaza location has not yet been determined, and an all electronic tolling system is being considered for the toll crossing.

Customs and Border Security

Customs and border security Customs and border security areas will be built at either end of the tunnel and will be administered by their respective countries. As a part of the deal for construction of the tunnels, a portion of the toll revenues generated by the tunnel could be used offset the cost of running the customs facilities. Additionally, Advanced tunnel detection systems will be constructed to quickly identify any threats to the tunnel, shot down the tunnel and isolate the threat to prevent catastrophic failure of the tunnel systems as a result of a natural disaster or attack against the tunnel.

History

The KMVTA was formed in early 2001 to investigate the possibility of building a vehicular tunnel between the mainland and Khaiwoon to reduce the demand on ferry service, and also as another mode of transportation to the congested train system. In addition the High speed rail was just getting off the ground in reaching additional destinations further up the Gobras Peninsula. the first proposal was to have begin construction on the tunnel in 2005 with an ultimate completion date of 2010, with an ultimate price tag of 4 billion Khaiwoonese Pounds (K£). This proposal faced significant opposition and also due to mounting construction cost projections and design delays the project was ultimately pushed back to a 2010 construction start date with a 2015 completion date. By this time construction costs topped K£ 4.6 billion and bond funding could only be found in the neighborhood of K£ 900 million, less that one quarter of the original construction costs in 2005 projections. Again the project was shelved. As a result of significant support in favor of building the toll tunnel, plans surfaced again in early 2012 with a new proposal and budget for the construction of the tunnel. Costs this time topped K£ 5.1B but the KMVTA was not deterred. Funding sources for the project were more robust along the lines of K£ 2.1B, but the project completion time-frame had to be pushed out to 2025 in order to make the project work. This meant that construction on the tunnel would not have begun until 2020. Now as a result of opposition and the again rising planning and construction costs, and as a result of a negative report from the environmental report on the project, the opening of the tunnel is now projected not to be until 2035. There is serious concern that the feasibility of the tunnel may not warrant it's construction. The KMVTA is looking for funding sources in continuing its plans to complete the tunnel project.

Controversy

Support

Support for the concept has been expressed by the mayor and city council of the city of Marapura, as well as coalition of mayors from around Marapura District. The district government has also declared its support, in addition to a number of civic and industrial groups in Marapura. One of the strongest backers of the idea is the Marapura Airport Authority, which has long proposed to establish MRP as an alternate airport for access to Khaiwoon. On the Khaiwoonese side, automaker KMV has expressed its approval of the concept, as has the major lobbying group representing Khaiwoon's construction industries. The Khaiwoon Chamber of Commerce released an initial statement declaring support, which it later retracted due to disagreements among its membership.

Opposition

The idea of a vehicular tunnel connecting Khaiwoon to the mainland has encountered opposition from a variety of quarters, particularly in Khaiwoon. The city-state's transport ministry has expressed concern that a significant increase of Gobrassian vehicles would overwhelm the limited capacity of Khaiwoon's road network. High speed rail operator gobraHSR published a series of reports discussing the potential negative impact on ridership in its rail tunnel. The Batjun West Community Association, representing businesses and residents in the neighborhood around Khaiwoon's main ferry terminal, has stated its unequivocal opposition to the project due to the detrimental economic effects of reduced traffic on the ferry line, as well as the construction related disruptions caused by modifying and extending the Khaiwoon West Expressway. Some commentators in Khaiwoon have suggested that a car tunnel would benefit Gobrassians disproportionately, as the majority of Khaiwoonese families do not even own a vehicle.