Norway has the go-ahead to build what is billed as the world’s first ship tunnel, designed to help ships navigate the turbulent Stadhavet Sea.

First announced a few years ago by the Norwegian Coastal Administration, this 1.6 km long and 57 meter wide tunnel will cut through the mountainous Stadhavet peninsula in northwestern Norway.

Construction of this engineering marvel will cost around NOK 2.8 billion ($ 330 million) and take three to four years, with construction beginning in 2022.

“It is a project that has been planned for decades. So it’s really nice to finally be able to start construction work in a year, ”temporary project manager Terje Andreassen from the Norwegian Coastal Administration told Citizen Free Press Travel.

At the moment, ships sailing around Stadhavet are often affected by strong tides and bad weather.

“The coast off that peninsula is the most stormy area in Norway, with hurricanes,” says Andreassen. “There are many strange currents here.”

Ships sometimes have to wait several days at the nearest port for the weather to improve.

But inside the tunnel, the weather and the tide shouldn’t affect the traffic.

Making boat trips safer and smoother could lead to high-speed ferry service, Andreassen suggests, and also strengthen industrial and commercial activities in the area.

“It will be better connected, it will be easier to travel,” he says.

Engineering marvel

(Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration)

The Norwegian Coastal Administration notes that while other tunnels can accommodate small boats and barges, no other underpass has been built to service large ships.

The ship tunnel at Stadhavet will go through the narrowest point on the Stadhavet peninsula, which makes the company project more feasible, as the tunnel will not actually be that long.

The entrance to the tunnel will be controlled by a traffic light system.

The plan is for the excavation to take place through underground drilling rigs and paddle rigs. Construction of the tunnel will likely involve the removal of some buildings and approximately three million cubic meters of rock.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration says the finished structure will be similar to “a large and long mountain passageway.”

While the tunnel is likely to attract the attention of infrastructure enthusiasts around the world, the main purpose of the tunnel is simply to make transit through the Stadhavet sea ‘safe’ and ‘predictable’, as Andreassen puts it.

And at present, it will not be possible to walk through the tunnel on foot, so if you are intrigued to know it, going by boat will be the only option.

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