Two Norwegian fjords could soon be bridged by the world’s first full scale ship tunnel. The tunnel could see up to 120 vessels passing through each day and avoiding some of the world most treacherous sea conditions.
Large commercial and leisure sea craft could soon be travelling through the world’s first ship tunnel in Norway. The Stad Ship Tunnel, planned by the Norwegian Coastal Administration, could allow ships safer passage on the Stadhavet Sea which is known for its dangerous conditions.
The area is notoriously treacherous with extreme conditions, swells and winds delaying even the sturdiest of ships during their journey along the coast of Norway. The aim of this project is to allow ships to navigate more safely through this area and decrease their passage time and risk in addition.
Ships could potentially access the tunnel from the north in Selje, with southern access via the Moldefjord. When selecting the area for the tunnel The Norweigan Coastal Administration explained that “The final route has been selected because the Stad Peninsula is at its narrowest point here, and at the same time the waters are sufficiently shielded to allow shipping to use the tunnel in the majority of weathers.”
The current proposal for the tunnel incorporates a bridge near the southern access so pedestrians and vehicles can continue overland whilst the ships glide through underneath. The bridge area will also allow passers-by a glimpse at ships preparing to enter and exit the structure.
Construction of the tunnel will involve the use of conventional blasting, and the use of underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs, it is reported that the volume of solid rock to be removed is approximately the equivalent of 7.5 million tonnes of blasted rock. Once operational, the tunnel could potentially accommodate 70 to 120 ships passing through daily and save considerable amounts of time and energy for vessels.
Reports of the tunnels potential specifications indicate a maximum length of 1700 metres, a ground to ceiling height of 49m and 36m tunnel width. Initial reports indicate that the construction of the tunnel will be 3-4 years and the final budget will be around $35.2 billion AUD.
According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, “If the project is realised, the Stad Ship Tunnel would be the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel of this size.” The Norwegian Parliament has already designated a significant portion of their National Transport Plan budget to the project and the project is now in a feasibility study phase and should all go accordingly the project could start construction as early as 2018.