Boats could soon travel through the world’s first ship tunnel in Norway. The Stad Ship Tunnel, pursued by the Norwegian Coastal Administration, could allow ships safer passage on the Stadhavet Sea, a notoriously dangerous area. The tunnel could accommodate 70 to 120 ships passing through every single day.

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The Stadhavet Sea is known for treacherous conditions; according to historians, Vikings would even drag their ships on the shore instead of sailing through this sea. Ideas for a ship tunnel there have been tossed around since the 1870’s. But now it seems the project may actually happen. The Norwegian Parliament designated one billion Norwegian kroner (NOK), or around $118 million, for the project in the National Transport Plan for 2014-2023. The Norwegian Coastal Administration released images credited to architecture firm Snøhetta. VisitNorway.com says the firm put them together as part of a photo project targeted towards politicians to help them make a decision.

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Ships might access the tunnel from the north in Selje, with southern access via the Moldefjord. The current proposal for the tunnel incorporates a bridge near the southern access so pedestrians can glimpse ships as they pass by. The northern access could include sleek horizontal ledges.

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Project manager Terje Andreassen of the Norwegian Coastal Administration told Norwegian publication NRK in late 2016 (as translated by VisitNorway.com), “In such a delicate landscape, the tunnel has to be more than just a foul intervention in nature. We put a lot of effort in making it aesthetically appealing…The earliest start of construction is expected to [be] in 2019.”

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It won’t be cheap. All told, the ship tunnel could cost around 2.3 billion NOK, or around $272 million. According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, “If the project is realized, the Stad Ship Tunnel would be the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel of this size.”

Via The Norwegian Coastal Administration and VisitNorway.com

Images via Kystverket/Snøhetta on Kystverket/Norwegian Coastal Administration’s Flickr (1,2,3,4)