Norway Building First Ship Tunnel To Avoid Risky Waters Around Stad Peninsula

Norway is planning to build the first ship tunnel in the entire world. The tunnel will allow ships to avoid being forced to navigate an extremely treacherous part of the ocean.

The historic ship tunnel will be a 5,610-foot-long passage cut through a rock-laden portion of the Stadlandet Peninsula in Norway. This waterway region has long posed an obstacle for shipping vessels. It will be approximately 162 feet tall and 118 feet wide. The first ship tunnel ever constructed is anticipated to cost about $314 million.

The Norway ship tunnel is expected to be completed by 2023. The Stad Ship Tunnel will allow ocean vessels to no longer have to navigate through both a narrow and potentially deadly section of the waterway around the Stadlandet Peninsula. Weather conditions around this portion of the peninsula often pose significant dangers to ships, according to a report by NBC News.

The North Sea and the Norwegian Sea meet around the Stad Peninsula. The meeting of the seas frequently causes turbulent water for boat captains. This section of the waterway has caused the deaths of dozen of sailors over the course of the past several decades, according to a report by the Sun.

Norwegian Transportation Minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen revealed the underwater topography and sea currents surrounding the dreaded narrow portion of the Stadlandet Peninsula often "result in particularly complex wave conditions," ABC News reports. The concerning part of the journey around the peninsula in Norway is located on the southwestern coast of the country.

"We are pleased that the ship tunnel now becomes reality," Solvik-Olsen stated.

According to the transportation minister, a great reduction in travel times between various Norwegian cities should occur once the first ship tunnel is completed and fully operational. Discussions about a Stad Ship Tunnel have been ongoing for several years. Now that funding for the project has been realized, the project can finally begin taking shape.

Ships that weigh up to 16,000 tons will be permitted to travel through the first ship tunnel. The construction of the tunnel will require workers to blast through the hard and rocky peninsula. Engineers tasked with completing the project must find a way to safely remove approximately eight millions tons of rock.

Work on the first ship tunnel is slated to begin in 2019, according to project manager Terje Andreassen. The movement of ocean vessels through the historic ship tunnel in Norway will be coordinated much in the same way airplane travel is scheduled and routed. Andreassen said time slots for access to the Stad Ship Tunnel will likely be issued from a traffic center to avoid both congestion and potential accidents.

The project manager also said passenger traffic through the Stad Ship Tunnel will be given priority access. He added that other types of vessels, including leisure boats, will be granted access through the historic ship tunnel as well.

There is not expected to be a fee charged for boats less than 70 meters long to use the tunnel. Vessels longer than 70 meters will have to be guided through the tunnel carved through the Norwegian peninsula.

The Stad Ship Tunnel was created with Norway's Hurtigruten cruise vessels in mind. The large ships will be able to ease through the more than a mile long tunnel. Boats will be able to access Norway's ship tunnel from the north end of the waterway in Selje and from the south in Moldefjord. The current design for the tunnel includes a pedestrian bridge for viewing of the vessels as they enter and exit the ship tunnel.

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