The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications has given the green light to the Norwegian Coastal Administration to start preparations for the construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel. The 1.7-kilometre-long tunnel for sea-going vessels will be located in the western coastal area, famous for its fjords.

The Stad Ship Tunnel is mainly intended to stimulate freight transport by water. The Stad sea is the most exposed and most dangerous area along the coast of Norway. A ship tunnel is to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents, making the voyage safer for both passengers and freight, as well as securing traffic regularity. It is also said to strengthen industrial and commercial activities in the region.

The tunnel will be 1.7 kilometres long, 37 metres high and 26.5 metres wide. The water will be 12 metres deep in the tunnel. The tunnel will have fendering that has been dimensioned for the largest vessels that may pass through.

‘We will now start the processes of acquisitioning properties in the area where the ship tunnel will be located, as well as put in place a project organisation, prepare a tender basis and initiate a tender,’ says Terje Andreassen, temporary project manager for the Stad Ship Tunnel at the Norwegian Coastal Administration.

Andreassen further says that the Ministry of Transport and Communications is now preparing a proposition to the Norwegian Parliament about the project. This will be presented during the spring.

278 million euros

Right now, almost 7.5 million euros in start-up funds have been set-aside in the state budget for 2021. The project is estimated to cost about 278 million euros, with a construction period of three to four years.

‘There is much work to be done, but we have carried out extensive studies and planning that will form the basis for the work. The property acquisition needs to be completed, if possible, during 2021,’ Andreassen states.

The process of procuring a contractor includes establishing a procurement plan, prepare tender documents and announce a tender competition. The plan is to host a conference with pre-qualified contractors during the spring/early summer of this year. The goal is to sign a contractor during 2021, which will allow construction to start in 2022.

Conventional drilling

Conventional blasting is envisaged using underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs. In total, approximately three million cubic metres of rock need to be removed for the tunnel. If the project is realised, the Stad Ship Tunnel would be the world’s first full scale ship tunnel of this size.

‘If everything goes according to plan, the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel will be completed in 2025/2026,’ Andreassen concludes.

Picture: This is what the ship tunnel could look like when it is completed in a few years. The illustration shows the entrance from Kjøde at the northern end of the ship tunnel (illustration: Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta).