$25 Billion Is The Price Tag For The World's First Floating Underwater Tunnel

Technology

It's pricey, but this isn't the type of project you skimp on.

As far as the most treacherous roads in the world go, Norway’s Atlantic Road ranks high on the list. The only clues to its ability to kill are steep bridges that allude to the ocean’s tendency to reach up onto the road and bring a car or two down with it. However, even these feats of engineering may not turn out to be the most impressive roads that the country will build. A recent allotment of $25 billion dollars is slated to go towards constructing a network of underwater tunnels.

As cool as the Atlantic Road is, the proposed tunnels would make it's bridges seem like a warm up for engineers. The target here is to make the nation’s array of fjords, steep valleys carved out by receding glaciers, passable without the use of time-consuming ferries. To do this the sum of cash will go towards building the first floating underwater tunnels the world has seen. The system would be made up of two tubes, one for each direction of travel, and each tube would only hold enough space for two lanes. The tunnels would be submerged under 100 feet of water and be held up by pontoons that float along the surface. In areas that the engineers deem safe, the tunnel would be tied down with cables drilled into the fjord floor.

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It seems like an extreme way to save time on ferries, but the other alternative, building bridges (which aren't always the least scary option), is made impossible thanks to unpredictable weather, a rocky landscape, and the fact that ships need to pass underneath. Not like the tunnels will be problem free. Before construction begins, engineers will need to find a way to keep underwater travelers safe as the floating support system endures weather, waves, and currents without causing too much disruption. If finished by the projected 2035 completion date, we’d imagine that driving through the tunnels with a V12 supercar echoing off of every wall would be the experience of a lifetime...as long as automakers still build V12s in 2035.

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