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World's First Ship Tunnel to be Constructed in Norway

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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Upon receiving an assignment letter from the Ministry of Transport and Communications earlier this year, the Norwegian Coastal Administration plans to construct what will be the world’s first tunnel for ships.

“This is a large, comprehensive, and not at least interesting project,” said NCA director general Einar Vik Arset. “We are more than ready to build the world's first full-scale ship tunnel.”

The news arrives years after the first announcement in 2017, having since completed several feasibility studies.

Stad Ship Tunnel

According to reports, the Stadhavet Sea has been notorious for its challenging currents and unpredictable tides and winds, having caused 33 deaths in maritime accidents since World War II. One shipping company has gone as far to say that roughly 20% of vessels have been delayed because of the area’s conditions.

With plans to bore through a 300-meter-tall (roughly 984 feet) mountain, the tunnel will connect Kjødepollen bay and Vanylvsfjorden, measuring 1.7 kilometers long, 37 meters tall, 36 meters wide and 12 meters deep. The immaculate size of the infrastructure is ideal for the cargo and passenger ships that travel through the area, sometimes reaching up to 16,000 tons.

Norwegian Coastal Administration / Snøhetta

Upon receiving an assignment letter from the Ministry of Transport and Communications earlier this year, the Norwegian Coastal Administration plans to construct what will be the world’s first tunnel for ships.

“The Stad ocean is one of the most weather-exposed areas along the Norwegian coast. With a ship tunnel, we want to improve safety at sea,” the Minister of Transport Knut Arild Hareide was quoted saying last year. “The project will also facilitate the establishment of a high-speed vessel route and the transfer of goods from land to sea transport.”

Excavation for the project is slated to take place utilizing a drilling and blasting method, as the area of the project is between two fjords, meaning that the metamorphic rock has significant pressure.

“We start at the top of the tunnel, and take off the roof with a traditional horizontal drill and blast,” said Terje Andreassen, Project Manager for the Stad ship tunnel-project for Kystverket. “Once we take the first level and can do the safety work with anchor bolts and shotcrete, we start drilling and blasting vertically like open mining. We do this for several levels, from the roof to 10 meters below the sea surface.”

Over the course of construction, sections of rock will be left at both ends of the tunnel so that construction crews can complete sections in dry conditions. Following these efforts, the remaining rock on both sides will be blasted to allow water to come through. In the event that the rock isn’t strong enough, however, Andreassen notes that crews will create cofferdams.

The rock extracted from the tunnel boring process is slated to be transported to a local facility where it will be repurposed as concrete for the project. The interior of the tunnel will be lit by LED hoses that also function as a wayfinding system.

For the entrances, architecture firm Snøhetta has been commissioned for the design of the stone pair.

“The design of the tunnel entrances focuses on merging the surrounding natural and cultural landscape with the tunnel’s large scale,” the firm said. “Stone walls are brought into the design of the entrances, creating slightly sloping terraces. The terraces are built on stone carved out of the mountain where the tunnel is created.

“Using wire-cutting and blasting, the terraces will have a naturally rough form within the precise geometry of the horizontal lines. In addition to creating a link to the area’s cultural landscape, the geometry is also highly beneficial for the structural stability of the portal.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2022, and if carried out to plan, it will open in 2025 or 2026. 75 million NOK ($8.9 million) in start-up funds has been set-aside in the state budget for this year. The project is estimated to cost NOK 2.8 billion (excluding VAT).

Before procuring a contractor for the job, the NCA is in works of establishing a procurement plan, preparing tender documents and announcing a tender competition. A conference with pre-qualified contractors was slated take place in either late spring or early summer, with the intention of signing a contractor before the end of the year.

Once in service, Andreassen reported that the tunnel will be very well regulated.

“Around 100 vessels per day will be allowed through, and it will be managed by the Norwegian sea vessel controlling system,” he stated. “Leisure crafts will be allowed through two times per day in both directions.” Around 100 vessels per day will be allowed through, and it will be managed by the Norwegian sea vessel controlling system. Leisure crafts will be allowed through two times per day in both directions.”

In addition to the tunnel, part of the project will also include the construction of a bridge off of an existing road on the western side, so that onlookers will be able to view ships and boats approaching the tunnel.

   

Tagged categories: EU; Europe; Infrastructure; Marine; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Ships and vessels; Transportation; Tunnel; Upcoming projects

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