Norway plans to build a $310 million mile-long ship tunnel underneath a mountain pass.
The Stad ship tunnel will allow ships the size of Hurtigruten vessels to navigate more safely through the exposed Stadhavet Sea which is expose to Arctic storms.
The tunnel, which will be 36 metres wide, 49 metres tall and capable of handling ships weighing up to 16,000 tons, will begin construction in 2019, and should be ready within three to four years.
Norwegian transport minister, Ketil Solvik-Olsen, said that sea currents and underwater topography in the country’s south-western coast “result in particularly complex wave conditions”.
Plans for a ship tunnel in Stad had been considered over the years, but now a project with financing was ready, he said.
“We are pleased that the ship tunnel will now become a reality,” Solvik-Olsen said, adding that travel time between Norwegian cities and towns in the area would be reduced.
Passenger ships will be given priority but leisure boats and other vessels will also be able to use the tunnel. It will be free for vessels measuring less than 70 metres .
Vessels sailing through the tunnel will get timeslots from a traffic centre to avoid congestion.
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