Tunneling for small vessels is nothing new as those who built the network of canal in Britain centuries ago would testify to. But the concept of a shipping tunnel is a rather more ambitious plan. However, the Norwegian government has finally agreed to proceed with the construction of the Stad tunnel, the the world’s first ship tunnel under a mountain set on the remote western coast of Norway. This new tunnel will certainly draw tourists, but more importantly will save time and money.
Freighters and cruise ships up to 16,000 metric tons will be allowed to sail through the Stad shipping tunnel that is going to take a decade to build. It will be blasted through a mile of rock at a cost of about £260 million. The construction has been designed by architects Snøhetta, which designed the home of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo and the new headquarters in Paris for the French newspaper Le Monde, media report.
The foremost scope of the building is to avoid the worst of the weather. The number of shipwrecks and subsequently deaths that have happened in the waters surrounding the Stad Peninsula sounds tremendous. Furthermore the project was chosen, instead of a ship canal, because of the environmental damage that a canal would do to the peninsula.
Work on the new shipping tunnel is set to begin in 2018 and the tunnel is due to open in 2029. During the construction period ships will have to go all the way around the Stad Peninsula to reach Måløy.
Norway has a past of building tunnels in order to overcome the difficult domestic geography, including snow-capped mountains and long fjords.