The United States can brag about having perhaps the world’s highest-situated tunnel. That is Colorado’s Eisenhower Road, built a little over 11,000 feet above sea level. When the building of it commenced in the early 1970s, there was, reportedly, a significant episode in women’s rights that also unfolded there. It concerns a Janet Bonnema, who was employed as a worker on the site in 1972.
Soon after Bonnema got the job, her supervisor had her reassigned to other duties, such as administrative, rather than work on the site. The reason for this was a superstition that women brought “bad luck” to these types of construction projects. Bonnema eventually brought her employer to court; she won the case and got her job back as a construction worker. After her case, a new law was introduced to protect gender equality at work.
Tunnels elsewhere in the world took pride in more landmark achievements, such as the Channel Tunnel that connects England and France. The Channel is unique as it also integrates one of the world’s most extensive undersea tunnel sections, measuring some 23.5 miles. When this project was finished during the mid-1990s, it supposedly defined the concept of the “mega-project.”
A more recent example of such a mega-project is the Gotthard Base Tunnel that snakes beneath the Swiss Alps and saves an hour en route to Milan and Zurich. It took nearly two decades to build, and currently this tunnel claims the title of being the longest and deepest one in the world.
While all these tunnels have been remarkable examples of human accomplishments, well planned and purposed, the same cannot be said about the so-called Tunnel of Love in the Ukraine, which is neither the world’s highest nor world’s deepest, but it is said that the Tunnel of Love is perhaps the world’s most romantic-looking of all.
This site is hidden in the western parts of Ukraine, in between the village of Orzhiv and the small town of Klevan. It is a section, only a few miles long, of part of the Kovel-Riven railway line that divides itself into two at a point near Orzhiv. One section leads to a secluded military base that was constructed in the Soviet era, and the other, where the Tunnel of Love should be, moves towards Klevan.
Back in the day, many trees were planted in this area to keep the military base concealed from the eyes of the world. Trees were also left to grow carelessly, without any trimming, alongside extensive sections of the rails. Trains using the route eventually helped form a marvelous passage through the trees, matching the size of a train.
The alluring look of this other-worldly railway section has made people call it the Tunnel of Love, despite there being nothing really romantic about the purpose of the entire track. Its practical usage extends to the local plywood-panels production factory. Freight trains distribute birch tree resources to the factory from elsewhere in the Eastern European country, and then they export the product to other countries in Europe.
The Love Tunnel part of the railway track begins several hundred feet away from the plywood factory. A couple of years back, when factory officials began cutting down some trees around it to help the train’s passage, there was, reportedly, a great deal of public disapproval.
And for good reason too, as it seems the section is quite popular among Ukrainians. Photographers seek to create their perfect photo caption here. Moreover, couples who are head over heels in love hold a belief that passing through the tunnel will bring them a fulfilling and joyful relationship.
No officials have been employed so far to protect and guard this unique piece of green architecture; however, ever since the single tree-cutting incident, nobody has dared to cut another tree nearby.
The growing number of visitors to the site have raised concerns among the operators of the trains. They are now extra cautious as they run the train through the Tunnel of Love, so as to avoid hurting anyone who just might be taking a photo. Fortunately, there haven’t been any incidents so far.