Norway Wants To Build The World's First Full-Scale Ship Tunnel


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Appex/ Norwegian Coastal Administration

Okay okay, hear us out. Norway is planning to build what is apparently the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel.

It might sound mundane, but it’s actually pretty cool. The Norwegian Coastal Administration is going to spend $270 million digging a tunnel to connect the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea through the Stadlandet Peninsula.


Construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel is expected to begin by 2018, with the tunnel going through the narrowest point of the peninsula. It will be 37 meters (120 feet) high, 26.5 meters (87 feet) wide, and 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles) long.

The proposed path of the tunnel. Oliver O'Donnell/Wikipedia

An estimated 7.5 million tons of rock will need to be removed to complete it, with the project expected to be finished by 2022. It will support ships weighing up to 16,000 metric tonnes (17,600 US tons), presumably owing to the displacement of water.

Currently, getting around the peninsula can be treacherous, due to numerous stormy days every year – about 45 to 106. The tunnel will make it much safer, and quicker during periods of adverse weather.


“The primary reason is to make sailing past Stad peninsula more safe and predictable,” Terje Andreassen, project manager for the Norwegian Coastal Administration, told IFLScience.

“The new route through the tunnel is not shorter. In good conditions you will not save time, but in hash weather, you will save hours. There are up to 110 day a year with storms and hurricanes in this area. Sometime vessels have to wait for a day or more while the weather conditions improve enough to make a safe sailing.”

Looking good, tunnel. Illustration: Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta

“The combination of wind, currents, and waves around this part of the coastline make this section a particularly demanding part of the Norwegian coast,” a statement from the Norwegian Coast Administration read. “Very high waves come from different directions at the same time and can create critical situations.”


And if bridges going through tunnels is your thing, there’s going to be a bridge at the southern section to give pedestrians a chance to watch them. The tunnel hasn’t been green lit yet, but if it is, the administration said that it would be “the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel of this size.”

The public will be able to watch the boats come through. Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta


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