Norway Builds World's First Floating & Largest Underwater Tunnels: The $47Bn Highway Mega Project

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Norway Builds World's First Floating & Largest Underwater Tunnels: The $47Bn Highway Mega Project

An amazing and almost impossible  form of transportation infrastructure could be the answer to traveling across fjord-ridden Norway.

To complete the 680-mile drive under current conditions, you would have to allow 21 hours for travel. Why? Traveling north-to-south across the country requires eight ferry trips across fjords. Norway's fjords are too deep and too wide to support bridges. Well, above water ones that is.

Norway has committed $25 billion to the construction of a fully submerged, floating tunnel beneath the Sognefjord, a body of water more than 4,000 feet deep and 3,000 feet wide. It would link two disparate regions and be the first of its kind in the world.

The tunnels could cut trip time to 10.5 hours by reducing the need for ferry rides. The project is expected to be completed by 2023. Each tunnel would be suspended under 100 feet of water, held up by pontoons on the fjord's surface and possibly an anchor bolted to the bedrock. Each fjord would be equipped with two tunnels: each two-lane, one for traffic flowing in each direction.

Underwater tunnels aren't a new idea for Norway. The country has 1,150 traffic tunnels, 35 of which are located under shallow bodies of water. Fjords, however, can be a mile deep, creating a challenge for conventional tunnels.

Norway has so far committed $25 billion in funds to the project, which is expected to reach completion by 2035. There’s still some hard work ahead for the engineers involved: such a system has never been built before, and no one is exactly sure how the wind, waves, and water currents in the fjords might affect the structures. 

The total cost to upgrade the current highway that cross Norway is estimated at $47 Billion. It will be one of the hardest and challenging engineering  tasks ever for architects and enginners.

 

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