The world’s first full scale ship tunnel is not a mere proposal now as the Norwegian government has recently approved NOK 2.7bn in funds for the Stad Ship Tunnel project.
Scheduled to built through the Stad peninsula in Norway, the new tunnel will enable ships to sail through the middle of the rock rather than crossing the most dangerous area of Norway’s coast.
However, the Stad Ship Tunnel, which will be1700 metres long, 49 metres high and 36 metres wide, is not expected to shave much time off the normal route, but will help vessels to avoid the journey through the Stadhavet Sea.
Infamous for bad weather conditions, the notoriously dangerous waters around the peninsula has reportedly witnessed the death of 33 seamen since the end of WW2.
Planned to start in 2018, the large-scale project will see the removal of 7.5 million tonnes of sploded rock. The Stad Ship tunnel will be located near the Norwegian towns of Teigen and Berstad, between Bergen and Alesund.
According to the officials, the construction of the tunnel is expected to be completed in 4 years, but the entire project is believed to take 12 years to complete, allowing entry to vessels only after 2029.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration is responsible for the project and it is part of the Norwegian government’s National Transport Plan for the period 2014-2023. The latest transport plan is aimed at projects that will result in the transfer of 25% of all goods transported by road to sea and rail modes.
In 2013, the Government of Norway had approved a funding of NOK1.6bn for this project. The Norwegian Coastal Administration said the newly announced funding will be provided in two phases beginning in 2018 and lasting until 2029.
Excavation works under this project will be carried out using underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs and it will see the construction of a cofferdam at each end of the tunnel, the Norwegian Coastal Administration said.
As the project nears completion, the cofferdams will be taken out to allow the water to flood a deep channel measuring 12ft for navigation.
In addition to enabling Norway to achieve more environment-friendly transport on its coast, the Stad Ship Tunnel will be emerged as a popular tourist attraction in the country. Reports say the project would also include an an overhead bridge that will be open to the public.
Officials earlier said the total project costs will amount to around NOK 2bn, where the net benefit of this project will be minus NOK 910mn.
However, the Norwegian Coastal Administration said no pricing has been defined for positive effects such as the transfer of transport from the roads to sea, safety, an increase in tourism, and also positive impacts on various industries, including the fishing industry.
Initial discussions on the project dates back to 1870’s when the idea was first proposed in a newspaper article published in 1874 and it remained as a mere proposal for more than a century until the government included it in the latest transport plan.
Reports say that the discussions around the topic had initiated debates on alternative options including the construction of rail link, and also an option to leave the vessels to battle with the dangerous combination of wind, currents, and waves in the peninsula.