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Norway engineers planning to build World’s first floating underwater tunnel

Norway engineers have proposed to create a truly innovation solution to travel difficulties between the city of Kristiansand and Trondheim. The engineers have offered to build the world’s first underwater tunnel in a fjord- along narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs.

When traveling by road, it takes about 21 hours to close from one of the cities to the other. In between your 1100 km journey, you will board ferries seven times. What the engineers are suggesting by creating the underground tunnel is a reduction of travel time to only 11 hours. This would be beneficial to both tourists and residents who sometimes are forced to rely on helicopters to take them to hospitals.

Why not just create a regular bridge? The answer is simply that Norway’s terrain in these regions makes it unsuited for an ordinary bridge. The terrain is too wide and deep making it unfeasible for such an endeavor. Another alternative that can be used is the creation of a suspension bridge or a floating bridge over water. However, these designs are highly susceptible to damage from rough weather. They also run the risk of interfering with Navy ships, which at times use the water for training.

Norway’s public roads administration is currently planning a feasibility study for one of the largest fjords on the route- – Bjørnafjord. The underground tunnel will consist of two curved, 1200 meter long tubes hanging 20 to 30 meters below the surface. The tubes will be connected to floating pontoons on the surface. Despite the tunnel’s unconventional design, officials have noted that it would be just like driving through an ordinary tunnel for commuters. With the country having 1,150 tunnels already in use, residents and visitors wouldn’t be too confused by the arrangement. Arianna Minoretti, a senior engineer with Public Road Administration, told Wired that driving experience would feel just like cruising through any other tunnel.

The structure has officially been named submerged floating tube-bridge but also known as Archimedes Bridge due to its use of the Archimedes principle, named after ancient Greek mathematician, who came up with the buoyancy calculation. The idea of buoyancy states that as long as an object weighs less that the weight of water it displaces, it will float.

Norway has so far committed $25 billion in funds to the project, which is estimated to be completed by 2035. Engineers currently have some hard work especially because such a system has never been built before and no one is sure how waves, winds and water currents in the fjords might affect the structure.

Featured Image Credit:inhabitat

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