Updated: Mar 1, 2019
In 1874, Norwegians imagined how it would be if they could carve into a mountain in order to build a tunnel for ships. The idea first appeared in an article in a newspaper that used to be sold on the streets of Norway over 140 years ago.
But it was left only as an idea, though Norway has never really abandoned it. In 1985, a pilot project was developed and a company was born. This year, they have come up with the same concept, but with a better project structure and improved technology to enable the creation of the tunnel.
In March 2017, the Scandinavian country announced its plans to build the first ship tunnel in the world, which will be cut into the rock of the Stad peninsula, in the southern extremity of Norway.
The Stad Ship Tunnel will have a length of 1700 metres and it will pass the narrow point of the peninsula.
The area is well known for its violent storms and extreme winds that cause havoc for around one hundred days every year. There have been many shipwrecks and a lot of sailors have lost their lives because of the abrupt cliffs and dangerous weather conditions.
So, this ship tunnel comes as a solution for the better and safer circulation of ships. It will be around 37 metres high and 26.5 metres wide, enough for Norway’s Hurtigruten coastal steamer. The tunnel will be able to be used by passenger and freight ships, allowing them to bypass the notorious Stadhavet Sea.
The government has approved a budget of US $314 million for this project, with the construction due to start no earlier than 2019. The building of this tunnel will take 3-4 years and the whole project has a ten-year time scale.
^ a short film by Kystverket shows how the tunnel will function. source: snøhetta
In addition to its utility, the tunnel will also serve as a tourist attraction. Norway’s architecture studio Snøhetta has created the design concept.
‘In such a delicate landscape, the tunnel has to be more than just a foul intervention in nature. We put a lot of effort in making it aesthetically appealing.’ said Terje Andreassen, project manager at Kystverket, the company behind the built of the tunnel.
Norway has been long known for its tunnelling technology. The country recently concluded the construction of the world’s longest road-tunnel. If this also gets to its completion, Norway will be the first country in a world to have a ship tunnel.