Norway unveiled ambitious plans for the world’s first vessel tunnel that allows boats up to 16,000 tonnes to pass between two alleyways without having to navigate the treacherous areas of the open sea that legend even scared it Viking. The Steep Ship tunnel will be built along a mile at the narrowest point on the Stadlandet peninsula at a cost of 2.7 billion kroner (£ 250 million).
He said Norwegian Transport Minister Keitel Solvik Olsen, sea currents and underwater topography “are producing particularly complex wave conditions.” Ships are often delayed when they wait for storms to pass. The new tunnel will eliminate this danger and allow much faster access between the cities in the area, including a shorter route to Perkin Kirkens Express Coastal.
“A boatyard tunnel will be built in the end,” Solvik-Olsen said. “The government is now working to ensure a safer and more reliable passage on the dangerous and harsh waters of the transport of goods along the Norwegian coast,” he said.
Project manager Terri Andresen said an estimated 8 million tons of rock would have to be recovered from the mountain to create the tunnel, which would be 37 meters high and 26.5 meters wide.
Passenger ships such as ferries will be given first priority, but other vessels, including leisure boats, will be allowed free access. Ships will be towed over 70m through and is carefully planned to avoid congestion. The new tunnel is due to open in 2023.
Although it is described as the first tunnel ship in the world, other tunnels for boats are present, including Canal du Midi in France. In the UK, tunnels built up to three miles long were built for canal boats dating back to the 18th century.