Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M

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07:30   |   Aug 22, 2018


Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M
Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M thumb Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M thumb Norway’s $47BN Coastal Highway | The B1M thumb


  • The western coast of Norway is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.
  • Carved by glaciers throughout the ages, some of these fjords stretch for 200 kilometres
  • inland and are over a kilometre deep.
  • The current convoluted travel route through and around this terrain takes you along Norway’s
  • 1,100 kilometre, 683 mile, E39 highway.
  • A road with a total journey time of 21 hours.
  • Now, the Norwegian government are working to improve access to services and residential
  • and labour markets across the country’s western regions by embarking on the largest
  • infrastructure project in the nation’s history.
  • Norway’s E39 highway runs between, Kristiansand
  • in the far south of the country and Trondheim in the north.
  • The route navigates its way
  • across the fjord network and features no fewer than seven ferry crossings.
  • The new coastal highway project aims to eliminate the need for ferry services altogether by
  • building a series of bridges and tunnels across, through and under the landscape.
  • With many of the fjords along the route being too wide or too deep for conventional infrastructure
  • to cross, innovative new solutions are being investigated by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
  • Rogfast is the first in a series of crossings that will link the E39, connecting Stavanger
  • and Haugesund via a 27 kilometre, 16 mile, under sea tunnel.
  • This structure will reach depths of up to 390 metres below sea level, making it the
  • deepest as well as the longest undersea road tunnel in the world.
  • The Rogfast project will in fact consist of two tunnels connected every 250 metres with
  • emergency exits.
  • Each tunnel will have a lay-by at 500 metre intervals, along with telephone
  • and surveillance cameras along the route.
  • The tunnel will also feature a mid-route intersection with the island municipality of Kvitsøy creating
  • an undersea tunnel junction and connecting the island with the Norwegian mainland.
  • With work begun in 2018, this element of the project is set to be completed by 2026 at
  • a cost of USD $2BN.
  • While the Rogfast works are already underway, the scale of some other fjords is presenting
  • the project team with extreme engineering challenges.
  • Bjornafjord - located to the south of Bergen - stands 5 kilometres wide, and reaches depths
  • of 600 metres.
  • To cross this challenging stretch of water, a proposal has been put forward for a floating
  • bridge, anchored to the shore at both ends.
  • The Sulafjord crossing has seen two possible solutions put forward.
  • The first is for a three tower suspension bridge, with two of the bridges’ towers
  • anchored on land and the third central tower anchored to the seafloor, some 400 metres
  • below the water line.
  • An alternative proposal for a “submerged floating tunnel” would see two interconnected
  • tubes running side by side tethered to the seabed using high strength cables.
  • Crossing the Romsdalsfjord will require a 16 kilometre undersea tunnel, much like the
  • Rogfast project, from Alesund to Midsund - followed by a 2 kilometre suspension bridge connecting
  • onto Molde.
  • By far the most complex and ambitious of all of the coastal highway crossings is that at
  • Sognefjord - also known as the “King of the Fjords”.
  • Norway's largest and deepest fjord is over 3.7 kilometres wide and an incredible 1.3
  • kilometres deep at its lowest point.
  • While these extreme distances pose their own challenges, engineers must also account for
  • the high number of ships that enter the fjord on a regular basis.
  • Any crossing must allow for a clear shipping lane that is at least 400 metres wide - with
  • 70 metres clearance above the water’s surface and at least 20 metres clearance into the
  • depths.
  • To deliver this, the project team are considering numerous different types of crossing for this
  • fjord.
  • The first is a traditional suspension bridge. With a 3,700 metre crossing, such a structure
  • would be almost double the length of the world’s current longest bridge and would require support
  • towers at least 450 metres tall, significantly eclipsing the 343m tall Millau Viaduct in
  • France to become the world’s tallest bridge structure.
  • A floating bridge is also being considered. However, this structure would need to raise
  • to allow ships to pass and achieving such a feature in a bridge that is only anchored
  • to each shoreline poses considerable engineering challenges that are yet to be overcome.
  • In a similar proposal to that found at Sulafjord, a submerged floating tunnel in also being
  • considered.
  • This proposal would differ slightly to its counterpart due to the extreme depth of the
  • Sognefjord. Rather than being tethered to the seabed, the tunnels would be suspended
  • from floating pontoons that would allow ships to pass overhead.
  • A hybrid proposal is also being considered - combining a floating pontoon bridge with
  • a portion of submerged floating tunnel that allows ships to pass.
  • Whilst fixed bridges transferring into fixed tunnels is not an uncommon solution in waterways
  • with high shipping traffic - such as the link between Denmark and Sweden and the extensive
  • Hong Kong to Macau crossing - combining the two floating structures in this way would
  • create the world's first example of such a solution.
  • Finally, a proposal for a multi-span cable stayed bridge is under review.
  • This structure would feature four floating pylons tethered to the sea floor rather like oil rigs.
  • With safety and environmental considerations being of the utmost importance, Norway’s
  • vast coastal highway project is set to become a new benchmark in engineering capabilities
  • and a model for future infrastructure projects around the world.
  • If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction,
  • subscribe to the B1M.

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The Norwegian government are embarking on the largest infrastructure project in the country's history. For more by The B1M subscribe now: http://ow.ly/GxW7y

Footage and images courtesy of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Vianova Plan og Trafikk A/S, Norconsult A/S, Rambøll A/S and Baezeni Co., Ltd.

Footage and images are the intellectual property of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Vianova Plan og Trafikk A/S, Norconsult A/S, Rambøll A/S and Baezeni Co., Ltd.

Learn more about the project here: https://www.vegvesen.no/ferryfreee39

Read the full story on this video, including images and useful links, here: http://www.theb1m.com/video/norways-47bn-coastal-highway

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