In a world first, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has officially announced that part of the Norwegian National Transport Plan (NTP) for the period between 2018 and 2029 will be to create the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel.

At a cost of NOK2.7 billion (€294.8 million), the Stad Ship Tunnel will measure 1.7km long, 37m high and 26.5m wide, according to the NCA. With these dimensions, it will be able to accommodate cruise and freight ships weighing up to 16,000 tonnes.

The purpose of the project is to make it safer for ships to navigate through the Stadhavet Sea, which the NCA says is the most exposed and dangerous area along the coast of Norway. According to Ketil Solvik-Olsen, Norway’s transport minister, the sea currents and underwater topography in the country’s south-western coast “result in particularly complex wave conditions.”

Now that the project has financing, it is planned to start in 2019, at the earliest, and finish by 2023.

The NCA reckons that the construction of the tunnel will involve conventional blasting using underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs, to remove an estimated 3 million m2 of solid rock.

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