The longest and deepest road tunnel in the world
Tunnels are real architectural wonders that are likely to originate from the caves that the ancient people used as their homes. Then tunnels were used as secret passages, usually underground, as well as a shelter from the enemies. In our days, the tunnels are built for other purposes: they allow people to move in the most inaccessible places.
The natural conditions in Norway, as mountainous terrain, the risks of rock falls, northern climate, many fjords, create difficulties for a reliable road service. In addition, ferry transport, common in this country, can not always provide year-round connection. Therefore, in Norway, last 20 years the transport construction is focused on bridges and tunnels. And Norway is known for not only the number of tunnels but also their outstanding features.
The longest road tunnel in the world
The Laerdal Tunnel, the longest in the world (24.5 km), is situated between Aurland and Laerdal and is a part of the E16 highway connecting Oslo and Bergen.
Figures – characteristics of the hotel make everyone assess the safety of the tunnel and the quantity and quality of the work done:
- Construction of the tunnel took five years, and it was opened in 2000.
- Mountains, through which the tunnel passes, reach a height of 1,600 meters.
- Duration of the trip through the tunnel is approximately 20 minutes.
- The tunnel is divided into three grotto which serve for turning vehicles, including trucks, and a place to stop for a rest.
- After every 250 meters along the track there are emergency telephones, fire extinguishers are located every 125 meters.
- Average throughput of the tunnel is 1,000 vehicles per day.
- The speed limit is 80 km/h.
In addition to three main caves, in the tunnel there are 15 turning points for the drivers’ convenience. Along the tunnel, there are police surveillance cameras to monitor traffic violators. A nice bonus is a free passage through the tunnel.
A road through the tunnel does not seem boring or monotonous thanks to intelligent security measures. And after a half an hour you will again enjoy the beautiful scenery of Central Norway.
Laerdal is famous for The Norwegian Wild Salmon Center, an ancient street with houses of 17-18 centuries and no less famous Borgund Stave Church (30 km), which was built in 1180 and well preserved until today. In the local information center, you can get information about bus schedules to the church, and hotels and guest houses options.
You can get to Laerdal from Oslo going by the highway E16 towards Bergen: the travel time is about 4.5 hours; the distance is about 300 km.
At an altitude of 650 meters above sea level, 6 km from Aurland, there is an observation deck Stigastein which offers a magnificent view of the entire Aurlandsfjord, Aurland town and its surroundings.
From Bergen you need to move towards Aurland by the highway E16; the road will take a little more than 2 hours (about 170 km).
The deepest road tunnel in the world
An underwater road? It is possible if it is a tunnel laid under water. Here again, the leader is Norway with the deepest tunnel in the world – the Eiksund Tunnel.
This is one of the relatively young tunnels – it was built in 2008. But despite its young age, it knows how to impress:
- With a length of just 7765 meters, it goes to a depth of 287 meters below sea level.
- The descent and ascent have a gradient to 9.6 %.
- The cars are separated from water by rock with thickness of 50 m, and in some places the maximum thickness of solid rock above the tunnel gets 500 meters.
- For its construction drilling and explosives methods were used.
- The total number of inhabitants of surrounding towns and settlements connected by the tunnel – 25,000.
The Eiksund Tunnel is just the part of a road complex including The Eiksund Bridge (about 400 meters) and two other tunnels – Helgehorn and Morkes (1160 and 430 meters respectively). To go through the tunnel, you need to pay 76 NOK per car.
How to get to the tunnel
The Eiksund Tunnel in Norway runs under the Storfjord and connects the cities of Eiksund and Rjanes.
The nearest major town to Eiksund is Alesund that is only 1.5 hours away (about 60 km) along the road rv. 61, with a ferry route included. From Oslo to Eiksund, you will get for 7.5 hours (about 560 km) by the highway E16 and rv. 15.
From Bergen to Rjanes, you get for 6 hours (about 360 km) along the E16, then, after a ferry, along the E 39, by Volda turn to the Rv653, and near Orsta – to the Fv47.
Not only architectural buildings, monuments and a variety of natural phenomena can inspire wonder. But the most common road constructions – road tunnels, which are numerous in Norway, can hit every traveler.