The Norwegians said goodbye to 2019 with taste of record and the confidence that they could save considerable time traveling around the county of Rogaland. Shortly before hearing the bells that marked the entrance of the new year, the authorities cut the inaugural ribbon of the tunnel ryfylketunnelena display of engineering that stands out for two main reasons: its usefulness for the residents of the region and, above all, its stunning technical specifications, which made it one of the longest submarine subways in the world.
Its dimensions are impressive, of course.
What dimensions are those? Ryfylketunnelen is an underwater road tunnel that reaches 14.4 kilometers in length, a considerable size that allowed it to show up on your day -and still does today— as the longest underground channel of its kind in the world. This last nuance is important: Ryfylke is a underwater tunnel designed for the passage of vehicles that passes under the Horgefjord. In the disputed field of record infrastructures there are other larger pipelines, but drawn up for other purposes or in other terrains.
He Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) measures 57km and the one of seikan 53.8, but both are intended for rail traffic. In Norway itself they have the underground Lærdalstunnelen24.5 km long, which, although it is also a highway, is located between Aurland and Lærdalpasses under a mountain range.
And how deep does it go? That is another reason why the Nordic authorities they stuck out their chest in December 2019, when Ryfylketunnelen was opened. The underground slopes at a slope of up to 7%and reaches a depth of 292m below sea level, which allows it to cross the Horgefjord and give continuity to national highway 13 between Stavanger and Ryfylke.
Its opening helped the inhabitants and tourists of the region to expedite their movements, such as stood out from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) before the works were even completed: “It will link Stavanger, Norway’s fourth-largest city and the center of the country’s offshore oil and gas industry, with Solbakk, near the small town from Tau, which is now only accessible by a 45-minute ferry ride. When complete, the tunnel will take 15 minutes to traverse at depths of up to 292 meters below sea level.”
Is it an isolated infrastructure? No. The Ryfylke Tunnel is part of a larger project, the ryfastwhich includes the conduit Hundvåg5.5 kilometres, which in turn connects with the Eiganes, of 3.7 km. “The entire Ryfast project involves the construction of three tunnels and 53 km of new roads,” stood out in its day NIBwho recalled that the project was managed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and its estimated total cost was around 6.4 billion Norwegian krone, equivalent to 785 million euros.
“It is estimated that around 4,000 cars a day will start using the tunnels once they are finished, doubling to 8,000 in 2035,” they celebrated from the NIB. Taken together, the project offered a valuable alternative to the ferry.
And how were the works? Work on the Ryfylke tunnel lasted several years, between 2012 and 2019, and its total cost ended up reaching —detailed the day of its inauguration the magazine Fjordblick— the 8,100 million Norwegian crowns. Shortly after the tunnel was inaugurated Hundvåg. Decades of planning and concept study were necessary to shape the structure, as they emphasized at that time those responsible for Rogaland, and employ explosives and platforms drilling rigs capable of working in particularly complex terrain. To enjoy the result, yes, you will have to pay toll.
Are there other projects underway? Of course, Ryfylke can be impressive, but in Norway itself and other parts of Europe there are projects underway as or even more ambitious, such as the tunnel fehmarnbelta link of almost 18 km between Germany and Denmark, which aspires to become the longest underwater rail and road pipeline in the world and which, if all goes according to plan, will be completed in 2029. Another similar project already started who aspires to break records is rogfast, which includes an underwater road tunnel to be located in Rogaland, Norway. Their figures are also impressive: 27 kilometers long and a maximum depth that will reach 392 m.
“The E39 Rogfast project will be the longest and also the deepest underwater tunnel in the world. When Rogfast is installed, the travel time between Stavanger and Bergen will be reduced by around 40 minutes. At the same time, it will facilitate an expansion of the real estate and job market. in the region, which will strengthen important business groups,” authorities highlight Norwegian.