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12May94 UK: SPECIAL REPORT - CHANNEL TUNNEL - FORMAL OPENING.

The greatest civil engineering project in the world, the £10 billion Channel Tunnel, was formally opened last Friday by the Queen and President Mitterrand.Over this and the next 13 pages, we look at the key events leading up to last week's ceremony, events that mean Britain is linked to mainland Europe for the first time since mammoths were regularly seen in the Home Counties.The story of the Channel Tunnel is one of engineering triumph against all the odds.But it is also a tale of complex financial manoeuvrings and contractual wrangling, of big problems and big personalities.There are chapters still to be written. The tunnel is inaugurated but not yet fully open - with freight and passenger services due to build up over the next year.And it will be even longer before its financial success is proved, or disproved.But the Channel Tunnel is now built, and a 200-year construction dream has finally been realised. CONSTRUCTION NEWS