Norway’s traffic is moving below water level…

… 100 feet below to be precise.

Norway is infamous for its scenic fjords which are a thing of beauty for the bystander. But for those who live locally and have to travel around this area, the fjords create a huge obstacle that forces residents to use car ferries as a form of regular transport.

As a result, the Norwegian government is planning an ambitious project to build tunnels that float under the water. The tunnels will sit 100 feet below water level and will be suspended by large pontoons that float on the surface. Although the structure is freestanding, additional cables could be used where possible to secure the tunnels to the fjord floor for even greater stability.

Because this project is the first of its kind it has raised some key practicality concerns:

Firstly, how will the pontoons handle the rough weather usually experienced in Norway including changing tidal movements and currents?

Secondly, how will a breakdown or car accident be handled with such limited accessibility in or out of the tunnels?

Lastly, how will the regular operation of boat and ferry services be affected by the floating pontoons that share the same space?

You may be thinking, with such concerns, wouldn’t it be easier to build a normal bridge?

The short answer is no, the fjords are too wide and too deep for a normal bridge to be safely installed. Combined with Norway’s unpredictable weather and landscape, a normal suspension bridge would not be able to handle it.

When can you expect them?

No information has been released yet concerning the exact number of tunnels Norway is planning to build, but the government has predicted that the project could be completed as early as 2035.

 

Brandon Turkus. (2016). Norway’s underwater traffic solution: a series of tubes. Available: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/07/25/norway-underwater-bridge-tunnel/. Last accessed 18/08/16.

Categories: Industry News

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