Norway are to build the world's first sea tunnel for ferries and ships, creating a much needed shortcut to avoid the hazardous shipping lanes further north.
The €293 Million project involves cutting a 1.7 kilometre tunnel into the rock, removing approximately 8 million tonnes of rock. With a height of 50 metres and width of 36 metres, the tunnel will be suitable for ferries, cruise and freight vessels up to 16,000 tonnes in weight.
"It will be the first ship tunnel of this size in the world, and makes one of the most challenging and hazardous shipping lanes in Norwegian waters safer for sea transport.
A combination of sea currents and subsea topography create particularly complex and unpredictable navigational conditions in the area. Very high waves coming from different directions at the same time can create critical situations, and challenging conditions mean reduced speed and predictability for shipping through the very exposed Stadhavet Sea."
says Norway’s Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
The idea for a sea tunnel through this region was originally suggested over a century ago with historical documents suggesting that even the Vikings would 'carry' their ships across the land rather than face the alternative hazardous route. It is expected that the modern tunnel will be ready for ships in around three to four years.
Available for all ships to use freely, each vessel will be given a time slot with a traffic light system indicating when a vessel can proceed through the tunnel. Ferries with regular sailings will be given priority, but anyone will be allowed to pass through the tunnel.