Last edited 19 Jun 2017

Norway could build the world’s first floating tunnel


The west side of Norway is made up of 1,190 fjords, which, while beautiful, make it very hard to travel along the country’s coastline.

Currently, the drive from the southern city of Kristiansand to Trondheim in the north takes an excruciating 21 hours and requires seven ferry crossings.

To make that drive easier, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) has proposed the world’s first underwater floating tunnel, which would be submerged in the Norwegian Sea. It is predicted to cost $25 billion (around £19 million) to build,according to Wired.

The tunnel is part of a series of proposed solutions for the Route E39 coastal highway devised by the NPRA.

Here’s what it would look like:

The floating underwater tunnel would consist of two 4,000-foot-long, curved concrete tubes, submerged 66 feet below the surface of the Norwegian Sea.


Image: NPRA

No floating underwater tunnel like this has ever been built before.


Image: NPRA

Underwater tunnels could be put in place across the fjords from Kristiansand in the south of Norway to Trondheim in north.


Image: Google Maps

For motorists underwater, the experience would be similar to being in any other tunnel.


Image: NPRA

The tunnels would enter the bedrock beneath the fjord on each side.


Image: NPRA

The submerged tubes would be steadied by being attached to pontoons on the surface of the sea.


Image: NPRA

There would be wide gaps between the pontoons to allow ferries to pass through.


Image: NPRA

Another option suggested by the NPRA is to combine an underwater tunnel with a bridge.


Image: NPRA

This solution is reminiscent of the Øresund which connects the Danish capital of Copenhagen to the Swedish capital of Malmö.


Image: NPRA

The NPRA is also considering creating a 12,139-foot-long suspension bridge, which would be three times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge and double the current world record for a bridge’s length.


Image: NPRA

The towers on each end of this world record-breaking suspension bridge would stand at 1,476 feet tall — 492 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower.


Image: NPRA

The first proposed crossing is for Sognefjord which links up Oppedal with Lavik. By 2035, the crossings are set to be installed between many of the country’s fjords, according to Wired.


Image: Shutterstock / S-F


Written by

Will Heilpern, Features Writer, Business Insider

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

  • Written by
Will Heilpern, Features Writer, Business Insider

This article was also published on the Future of Construction Knowledge Sharing Platform and the WEF Agenda Blog.

--Future of Construction 13:12, 19 Jun 2017 (BST)