What could possibly make a country think that spending $272 million to dig a mile-long “boat tunnel” is a good idea? For Norway, that answer is simple: dangerous waters. The Stad peninsula is one of the most dangerous coasts in the country, because it’s at the nexus of the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, and the meeting of these two waters produces consistently stormy seas. The area’s turbulent weather has claimed the lives of at least 33 people over the last seventy years.
Even the vikings apparently knew to avoid the Stad. The first proposal to avoid those treacherous waters by digging a ship tunnel was floated all the way back in 1874. But it isn’t until now that Norway appears to be moving ahead with firm construction plans.
Designed to accommodate massive cargo ships, the tunnel will be nearly 150 feet tall, 118 feet wide, and more than a mile long. Between 70 and 120 ships will be able to pass through each day. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for beauty in its design.
Created by the global architecture firm Snøhetta, the tunnel design strives for beauty—most notably in the entrance’s use of terraced stone. “In such a delicate landscape, the tunnel has to be more than just an intervention in nature. We put a lot of effort in making it aesthetically appealing,” said project manager Terje Andreassen.