Norway has announced plans to build the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel in the Stadhavet Sea, a hazardous region of coastline that is difficult to navigate.
At an estimated cost of NOK 2.7bn, the 1700m long Stad Ship Tunnel will take approximately three-to-four years to build and will require the removal of three million cubic metres of rock (3 million m3).
The project will be delivered by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) with construction expected to begin in 2019. Once complete, the tunnel will have a ground-to-ceiling height of 49m, a cross-sectional area of 1625m2 and a width of 36m between tunnel walls.
In use, the tunnel will prioritise commercial shipping, although leisure vessels will be allowed to pass through.
“There are still many pieces of the puzzle that need to be put into place before construction can start, but we have previously stated that the actual construction could be at the earliest in 2019,” said Terje Andreassen, project manager for Stad ship tunnel at NCA.
Located at the narrowest point of the Stad Peninsula, the tunnel is expected to lessen the risks associated with sailing in the region. According to NCA, the Kråkenes lighthouse, just south of Stad, can experience between 45 and 106 days of stormy weather per year. The combination of wind, currents and waves around make it a challenging part of the Norwegian coast.
NCA add that the combination of sea currents and subsea topography creates complex and unpredictable navigational conditions. Very high waves come from different directions simultaneously and can create critical situations. The conditions also cause heavy waves to continue for a number of days once the wind has subsided. This causes difficult sailing conditions even on less windy days.
“[The tunnel] is a project that will secure safe journeys and transportation of passengers and freight on the most exposed and dangerous part of the Norwegian coast,” said Andreassen.