Norway to build $315 million ship tunnel in world first

Computer generated image of the exterior of Norway's Stad tunnel
Norwegian Coastal Administration

Norway is to build the world's first sea tunnel to enable ships to bypass the dangerous waters of its western coast.

The mile-long, 36-metre-wide wide tunnel will be carved through the mountainous Stad Peninsula, enabling ships to bypass the stormy Stadhavet Sea, which was intimidating even to the Vikings.

While tunnels for boats have been built through mountain ranges before, the new $315 million project will be the first of its kind to facilitate access for freight and passenger ships weighing up to 16,000 tonnes.

Computer generated image of Norway's Stad tunnel in use
Norwegian Coastal Administration

The Stad region was selected as an area of particular demand due to its exposure to fierce weather conditions. The nearby Kråkenes lighthouse records between 45 and 106 stormy days per year.

"The combination of wind, currents and waves around this part of the coastline make this section a particularly demanding part of the Norwegian coast," the announcement from the Norwegian Coastal Administration unit noted.

"The conditions also cause heavy waves to continue for a number of days once the wind has died down. This causes difficult sailing conditions even on less windy days."

Construction of the tunnel is set to start in 2019 and take three to four years.

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