Spain-Morocco Tunnel Under  Strait of Gibraltar Would Cost €6 Billion

After four decades of dormancy, Spain and Morocco have revived their ambitious plan to construct a submarine rail tunnel connecting Europe and Africa, just in time for the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

Marrakech – In a significant development that could reshape transportation and trade between Europe and Africa, Spain and Morocco have recently reignited their long-standing plan to construct a tunnel beneath the  Strait of Gibraltar.

As reported by Spanish media, the ambitious project, which has been dormant since 2009, has gained new momentum following recent high-level meetings between the two countries.

The original idea of connecting Spain and Morocco through a fixed link dates back to 1979 when King Hassan II and King Juan Carlos I signed a joint declaration of intent to study the possibility.

In 1980, two public companies were established to carry out the project: SECEGSA in Spain and SNED in Morocco. However, despite investing millions of euros in the 1980s, no concrete actions were taken.

However, now the momentum to make this idea a reality is catching on. 

During the 43rd meeting of the Spanish-Moroccan Committee in April 2023, the two countries agreed on a three-year work plan to analyze the feasibility of constructing a geomechanical reconnaissance gallery that could also be used for telecommunications.

The current Spanish Minister of Transport, Oscar Puente, and his Moroccan counterpart, Nizar Baraka, further discussed the strategic importance of the fixed link project during Puente’s official visit to Morocco in March 2024.

According to El Debate, various options were considered when the project was first proposed, including a bridge and a bored tunnel. In 1996, following an international colloquium of experts in Seville, the Intergovernmental Joint Committee opted for an underground tunnel – and in this case underwater – solution.

The project would involve constructing two 28-kilometer-long submarine tunnels, reaching a maximum depth of 475 meters, connecting Punta Paloma in Spain with Malabata in northern Morocco.

La Razón cited American magazine Newsweek, which estimated that the financial cost of the railway tunnel between Morocco and Spain would reach 6 billion euros. The tunnel is expected to facilitate the travel of 12.8 million passengers annually and transport 13 million tons of goods between Africa and Europe.

British newspaper The Telegraph highlighted that the submarine tunnel would likely be built by the end of the current decade, in time for the 2030 World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Morocco, Portugal, and Spain.

SECEGSA projects that the tunnel would reduce travel time between Madrid and Casablanca to just 5.5 hours, compared to the current two-hour flight duration or the 12-hour, 1,000-kilometer car/ferry journey. The fixed link is expected to be a significant commercial gateway, connecting the rail networks of Spain and Morocco.

© Morocco World News.


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