OSLO: Enabling the ships to bypass dangerous waters of its stormy Stadhavet Sea, which was intimidating even to the Vikings, Norway is to build the world’s first sea tunnel. The 36 metre wide and one mile long tunnel will be carved through the mountainous Stad Peninsula.
While tunnels for boats have been built through mountain ranges before, the new $315 million project will be the first of its kind to facilitate access for freight and passenger ships weighing up to 16,000 tonnes.
The Stad region was selected as an area of particular demand due to its exposure to fierce weather conditions. The nearby Kråkenes lighthouse records between 45 and 106 stormy days per year.
“The combination of wind, currents and waves around this part of the coastline make this section a particularly demanding part of the Norwegian coast,” the announcement from the Norwegian Coastal Administration unit noted.
“The conditions also cause heavy waves to continue for a number of days once the wind has died down. This causes difficult sailing conditions even on less windy days.”
Project Manager Terje Andreassen said engineers would have to blast out an estimated 8 million tonnes of rock to build the tunnel. Under the plan, passenger traffic will be given priority but leisure boats and other vessels can also use the tunnel.
It will be free of charge for vessels measuring less than 70 metres, and vessels longer than that would have to be led. Vessels sailing through the tunnel likely will get slot times from a traffic centre, like planes at an airport to avoid congestion. Construction of the tunnel is set to start in 2019 and take three to four years.