Norway plans “ship tunnel” to avoid the deadly Stadhavet Sea

The Norwegian Coastal Administration is planning the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel to allow vessels to travel through a mountain rather than navigate the treacherous waters of the Stadhavet Sea.

The 1.7km long tunnel will be located in the Stad peninsula. This is at the "corner" of Norway, where the coastline bends to the northwest. It will be 26.5m wide and be able to accommodate 70 to 120 ships a day.

Its use would allow vessels to avoid the Stadhavet, where the North and Norwegian seas meet, creating an unpredictable combination of tides and winds. Some 33 people have lost their lives in the area since the end of the Second World War.

The $272m project is part of Norway’s 2014-23 National Transport Plan. A feasibility study is under way at present, and construction may start in 2019.

The tunnel, which was designed by Snøhetta, runs between Selje and Moldefjord. A bridge will be built over the southern access point, allowing visitors to watch the ships as they pass.

The project was first announced in 2015, but late last year, Terje Andreassen, a project manager for the coastal administration, said: "In such a delicate landscape, the tunnel has to be more than just an intervention in nature. We put a lot of effort in making it aesthetically appealing."

The development is expected to take up to four years to build.

Visit Norway’s website notes that: "The idea to build a ship tunnel has been discussed for more than a century. The first plans were drawn as early as in the 1870s, while Stad has been known as a troublesome area for ages. Historians have even documented how the Vikings used to drag their ships on shore instead of risking the Stadhavet."

Images courtesy of the Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta

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