Norway to build the world’s first shipping tunnel
Norway have announced ground-breaking plans to construct the world’s very first shipping tunnel, in order to allow ships and freight containers to avoid dangerous and treacherous seas.
The impressive plans include proposals to burrow through an area of rocky peninsula on the country's southwestern coast. According to Norwegian Transportation Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen, the construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel would be able to accommodate cruise and freight ships weighing up to 16,000 tonnes and is expected to open in 2023. It will be 36 metres (118 feet) wide and 49 metres (162 feet) tall and is estimated to cost at least 2.7 billion kroner ($314 million).
The tunnel’s construction is planned to begin at the narrowest point in the Stadlandet peninsula where the weather surrounding it has been considered for many years to be a danger to shipping. Construction is planned to start in 2019 and the project manager has estimated that a massive eight million tons of rock will have to be blasted out of the way to make room for the enormous tunnel.
Passenger traffic is going to be given priority over freight traffic in the plans, but leisure and other boats will be allowed to pass through, with the tunnel free to use for vessels under 20 metres long.
Norwegian Transportation Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen, speaking on Wednesday as quoted in The Independent, said that sea currents and underwater topography in this part of the country's southwestern coast “result in particularly complex wave conditions. We are pleased that the ship tunnel now becomes a reality,” He also said that travel time between Norwegian cities and towns in the area would be reduced.
If completed the tunnel would represent a marvel of modern engineering and would be a source of pride for the Norwegian government, having managed to construct a world first. The tunnel would look incredibly impressive and could lead the way for other countries to give the green light to similarly ambitious projects.