Construction of The Channel Tunnel
Tunnel-boring machines began construction from both sides of the channel in 1988, from Folkestone in Kent in England, to Coquelles in France, with the intention of meeting half way. Eleven of these machines were used in all, cutting through the chalk that lay underground. Two rail tunnels were built, along with a service tunnel, which connected to French and English motorways at each respective end. During the peak construction times, over 1500 workers were employed, and the project was estimated to have cost around £4650 million. The two ends of the tunnel met after 2 years, in 1990. The first breakthrough was tiny hole in October. But, for the benefit of the media, the 1st December was the official breakthrough date of the service tunnel, with the world watching. However, it was not until 6th May 1994 that the project was finally completed, and was opened by the French President Francois Mitterrand and the British Queen Elizabeth II. High-speed links from the French end of the tunnel onwards to Lille, and eventually Paris and, more recently, Brussels, were added for even more ease. At a later point, in 2007, a high-speed link from London St Pancras to Folkestone was established, ensuring swift and uncomplicated access from the capital to the continent.