Norway to build world's first ship tunnel through coast

Norway plans to build a 1,700-meter (5,610-feet) tunnel for ships — a world first — through a piece of rocky coast to allow vessels avoid a treacherous part of sea.

Construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel, which will be 36 meters (118 feet) wide and 49 meters (162 feet) tall, is estimated to cost at least 2.7 billion kroner ($314 million) and is expected to open in 2023.

Transportation Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen had said Wednesday that sea currents and underwater topography in this part of Norway's southwestern coast "result in particularly complex wave conditions."

Project manager Terje Andreassen said engineers will have to blast out an estimated eight million tons of rock to build the tunnel, which would allow cruise and freight ships weighing up to 16,000 tons.