Further development of the city centre service tunnel is progressing – aiming to boost the vitality of the city centre

The service tunnel under Helsinki city centre will undergo further development. The plan calls for the tunnel to be extended to Hakaniemi. The possibility of using the tunnel for renewable energy production is also being studied. A development reservation has been proposed for the project. The Urban Environment Committee will discuss the proposal on Tuesday 30 January.
A new tunnel connection is planned from Aleksanterinkatu to Hakaniemi. Photo: SRV
A new tunnel connection is planned from Aleksanterinkatu to Hakaniemi. Photo: SRV

In the autumn, a consortium consisting of SRV, KEVA and Ilmarinen Mutual Pension Insurance Company submitted a development reservation proposal to the City of Helsinki to further develop the city centre service tunnel. The development work aims to revitalise the city centre and reduce the climate impact of city centre buildings while they are in use. The Urban Environment Committee will discuss the development reservation when it meets on Tuesday 30 January. The City Council must also approve the proposal before a reservation can be granted.

If the reservation is granted, it will be in force until April 2026. It will be possible to decide on the actual execution of the project after that date.

The city centre service tunnel complex is currently between Kamppi and Kaisaniemi. The development project aims to study the extension of the existing tunnel connection from Aleksanterinkatu to Hakaniementori. The route of the new tunnel connection is not yet known, but the alternatives will be analysed during the development reservation period. The project does not aim to enable traffic through the city centre via the tunnel complex. Instead, it seeks to improve the business, distribution and service traffic in the area.

In addition to a new vehicle connection, the opportunities for developing the existing tunnel will be studied, along with underground servicing, logistics and parking solutions connected to the service tunnel solution. The utilisation of geothermal heating and heat recovery will also be studied. The project will examine the opportunities for renewable energy production in the new and existing tunnel connections.

“The development work aims to study solutions that create opportunities to revitalise Helsinki city centre, enhance the traffic flow in the city centre, and improve the city centre’s accessibility as part of a new transport system plan that is currently being prepared for the city centre,” says Hannu Lokka, SVP, Strategic Project Development at SRV, representing the consortium.

“A further objective is to support the City of Helsinki’s sustainable development targets, such as the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2030 target. The utilisation of geothermal heating and waste heat recovery are being studied in this context. New smart energy production solutions could significantly reduce the climate impact of city centre buildings while they are in use. As a lifecycle-wise construction company, this is one way we actively contribute to curbing climate change caused by human activity.”

Planning will take place in close cooperation with the City of Helsinki, the current operator of the tunnel, Helsingin Väylä Oy, and other stakeholders.

“The existing tunnel was a major investment for Helsinki. The City has the long-term goal of increasing the use of the tunnel for distribution and service traffic. If more of the vehicle traffic entering the city centre could be directed underground, we would be better able to boost the city centre’s vitality and create a pleasant pedestrian area. These are important goals for the City,” says Rikhard Manninen, Head of Land Use at the City of Helsinki.

“As property owners, we are concerned about the vitality of the city centre and are keen to contribute to tangible development proposals to ensure its vitality. The development of the service tunnel in the city centre would increase the accessibility of business premises and offices and improve service logistics. The project aims to identify solutions to facilitate access to the car parks in the service tunnel from the east and west. The chance to study renewable energy production in the heart of Helsinki makes the project even more interesting. So far, property owners have had little opportunity to use geothermal or solar energy in the centre of Helsinki”, says Tomi Aimonen Head of Domestic Real Estate Investments at Ilmarinen.

The new tunnel connection, the underground parking it would facilitate, and the increase in the usage of the city centre service tunnel would make the city centre more accessible and reduce the amount of above-ground traffic in the street network. The development project would thereby help enhance the traffic flow and improve the accessibility of the city centre. It would also present opportunities to develop a pedestrian and cyclist area in the city centre and support the City’s emission-reduction targets. The development work will also study the possibility of improving the city centre’s current service and distribution logistics, the accessibility of car parks, and the security of supply in the city centre.