Norway planning massive shipping tunnel through Stad peninsula

If you’re tired of going around something, perhaps it’s time to just go through it.

That must be what's crossed the minds of Norwegian officials considering the world's first massive ship tunnel. The possible endeavor would measure 1.05 miles long, 121 feet high and 87 feet wide, while taking up to four years and $272 million to complete.

As you may have wondered, why would anyone design a tunnel? It seems cost prohibitive, right?

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New Atlas interviewed Stad Ship Tunnel Project Manager Terje Andreassen: “This is the most hazardous part of the Norwegian coastline with more than 100 days of storm/hurricane yearly. The combination of the underwater topography, current and the most stormy area along the coastline makes big and choppy waves which often is a challenge to handle.”

Instead of continuing to send ships around the Stad peninsula, and into inclement weather, the country would have safer passage through this innovative tunnel. Officials are pondering a tunnel rather than a canal because of an enormous hill in the way.

As Andreassen joked, “Because in this case we are crossing a hill which is more than 300 meters (984 feet) high … the only alternative is a tunnel. From a maritime point of view this is still a canal, but with a ‘roof.’”

Traversing a canal can be a slow process, but it sounds like this possible tunnel would be able to fill the area’s shipping needs.

As Andreassen continued, “In average there will pass 19 ships a day. The tunnel has a capacity of 100 ships a day. There will be one-way traffic, which will alternate every hour. The traffic will be controlled by one of our vessel traffic centers and slot times will be given to all commercial vessels.

“The project is now in ‘the national transportation plan,’ so it is likely that it will go ahead.”