Norway is to build the world's largest tunnel for ships, having granted permission for a 1.7km (1 mile) passageway to be burrowed under a rocky peninsula in the north west of the country.
The Stad Ship Tunnel, which is expected to cost around 2.7bn Norwegian Krone ($320m), will enable freight ships, cruise liners and smaller vessels to take an underground shortcut through the Stad peninsula to avoid the rough winds and waters of the Stadhavet Sea, the most treacherous stretch of Norway's coastline.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) said the mix of strong currents and rocky underwater topography has meant the idea of tunnelling through has been suggested frequently but had not received funding until now.
“The combination of wind, currents and waves around this part of the coastline make this section a particularly demanding part of the Norwegian coast,” a statement said. “The conditions also cause heavy waves to continue for a number of days once the wind has died down — this causes difficult sailing conditions even on less windy days.”
The NCA, which is in charge of the project, said that some 3m cubic metres of rock will be burrowed through to dig the tunnel.