World’s 1st Ship Tunnel Step Closer to Construction
Norway’s Stad Ship Tunnel project, also known as the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel, is moving toward construction process as the plan was made formal.
Namely, the Norwegian government submitted a white paper on transportation, the National Transport Plan 2018-2029, on 5 April 2017, which proposes planing of the ship tunnel.
About EUR 163 million (USD 173 million) have been earmarked for the project in the first half of the planning period for The National Transport Plan 2018 – 2029. The project’s full cost is projected to be approximately EUR 293 million, while the overall construction process is estimated to take between 3 – 4 years.
“This is good news, and in line with NCA recommendations as part of the impact assessment. There are still many pieces of the puzzle that needs to be put into place before construction can start, but we have previously stated that the actual construction could be at the earliest in 2019,” says project manager for Stad ship tunnel at Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA), Terje Andreassen.
“It will be the first ship tunnel of this size in the world, and makes one of the most challenging and hazardous shipping lanes in Norwegian waters safer for sea transport,” says Norway’s Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
“A combination of sea currents and subsea topography create particularly complex and unpredictable navigational conditions in the area. Very high waves coming from different directions at the same time can create critical situations, and challenging conditions mean reduced speed and predictability for shipping through the very exposed Stadhavet Sea.”
Studies for selection of the route and cross section were finalized in 2010 and the subsequent external quality assurance process in 2012.
The Stad Ship Tunnel will be 1.7 kilometres in length, 50 metres high and 36 metres wide. Ships the size of the Coastal Steamer (Hurtigruten) will be able to navigate through the tunnel.
The impact assessment and the technical pilot project findings will be delivered by NCA to the Ministry of Transport and Communication in the spring of 2017. Further, the project will undergo an external quality assurance process (KS2) before it is presented to the parliament, which will then formally decide on project funding.
However, during a press conference in early March this year, the project was backed by majority in the parliament.