Coming Soon: World's First Ship Tunnel Through the Mountains

Norway is building mile-long tunnel so ships don't have to deal with stormy Stadhavet Sea
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2017 4:55 PM CDT
Coming Soon: World's First Ship Tunnel Through the Mountains
A computer-rendered image provided by the Norwegian Coastal Administration.   (Snohetta/Norwegian Coastal Administration via AP)

Even Ivar the Boneless probably would've taken a hard pass if he were told to launch his longship in the Stadhavet Sea. And since even the Vikings were scared of Norway's famously temperamental body of water, it's not surprising to hear that the country has been working on a way to circumvent it. Its solution: the world's first ship tunnel designed for both cargo and passenger ships drilled right through a mountain range, NBC News reports. The $315 million, 1-mile-long tunnel, whose construction is expected to start in 2019 and last three or four years, will be blasted through the rocks of the Stadlandet Peninsula. "We are pleased that the ship tunnel will now become a reality," says Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway's transport minister, per the Guardian.

A press release from the Norwegian Coastal Administration lays out the tunnel's specifics: mainly, that it will be about 120 feet wide and nearly 160 feet high and able to accommodate ships up to about 17,600 tons. Almost 9 million tons of rock will need to be decimated to make the tunnel happen. And its necessity is no exaggeration: The Stadhavet Sea is notorious for turbulent weather with high winds, strong currents, and waves that often don't die down for days after a storm. Solvik-Olsen notes that in addition to making travel less risky, travel times between certain points will also be reduced. And if ships are coming into the tunnel from either end, there's a plan for that, too: Traffic lights will ensure safe passage, the NCA says, per CNN. (The Swiss are behind the world's longest rail tunnel.)

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