The initial ideas and planning for a tunnel below the Warnow to the north of Rostock date back to the 1960s. As early as 1974, the “North Warnow Tunnel” appeared as a project in the General Construction Plan for the city of Rostock and the required area was kept free. At the start of the 1990s, there was an increase in traffic. This led to significant traffic problems in both financial and residential areas: traffic jams on the main roads, loss of time, environmental damage and noise pollution.
However, it was only a legal amendment in 1994, the Private Financing of Long-Distance Roads Act (Fernstraßenprivatfinanzierungsgesetz), that made it possible for a privately constructed, financed and operated route to be developed in Germany for the first time.
On the 1st December, 1999, the first cut of the spade took place for the expensive and technically challenging project. The partners Bouygues Travaux Publics S.A. (F) and Macquarie Infrastructure (AUS) invested around 220 million Euros together with an international banking consortium under the management of the Deutsche Bank, the NordLB bank, the KfW development bank, and the EIB. The EU simplified the financing of the project by making a subsidy of approx. 8 percent available as part of the TEN funding (Trans-European-Network).
The Warnow Tunnel consists of six waterproof concrete elements, which have been positioned in the riverbed using the float and sink process, which is unusual for Germany. This process was used because the bedrock was not suitable for a drilled tunnel. Including both gate constructions at the start and exit, the tunnel has a total length of 790 m.
On the 12th September 2003, the Warnow Tunnel was opened by the Federal Minister for Transport,
Dr. Manfred Stolpe. Since then, the Warnow Tunnel has been used by thousands of car drivers each day. The number of tunnel users has already reached the 40-million mark (as at August 2014). Anyone who travels through the tunnel can save time and money, conveniently and safely.