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To celebrate the 100th edition of our Construction Buzz Newsletter, we’ve delved into the archives to bring you some of the most influential construction projects from the last 100 years, exactly as they were reported at the time.



Connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age, the channel tunnel cut travel time between England and France to a swift 35 minutes, and between London and Paris to just two-and-a-half hours.

Millions of tons of earth were moved to build the two rail tunnels, with more than fifteen thousand people employed at the peak of construction.

channel tunnel opening


BBC News, 6 May 1994

The Queen and France's President Francois Mitterrand have formally opened the Channel Tunnel during two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain.

After travelling through the tunnel, which took eight years and billions of pounds to build, the Queen said it was one of the world's great technological achievements.

The tunnel is the first land link between Britain and Europe since the last Ice Age about 8,000 years ago.

The first leg of the Queen's journey took her from London's Waterloo station through the tunnel by high-speed Eurostar passenger train.

She arrived at Calais at the same time as the President Mitterrand's train which had travelled from Paris' Gard du Nord via Lille.

Nose to nose encounter

The two locomotives met nose to nose - a computer that prevents two trains travelling on the same track was switched off for the occasion.

The two heads of state cut red, white and blue ribbons simultaneously to the sound of their respective national anthems played by the band of the French Republican Guard.

They were accompanied by their Prime Ministers John Major and Edouard Balladur and other government ministers to the Eurotunnel terminus.

Passengers must wait

Eurostar will not start carrying passengers until July at the earliest and private cars will have to wait until October.

After lunch, the Queen and President Mitterrand took the royal Rolls-Royce on Le Shuttle for the 35-minute trip to Folkestone.

There was a similar ribbon-cutting ceremony on English soil. Among those present were joint Eurotunnel chairmen Sir Alastair Morton and André Bénard as well as Frenchman Philippe Cozette, who drilled the hole that first joined the two ends of the tunnel in December 1990.

Behind today's celebrations lies the reality that the tunnel has run up huge debts. It cost £10bn to build, more than double the original forecast in 1987 - and there are serious doubts about its long-term financial viability.

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