Norway’s ‘world-first’ ship tunnel gets technical advisor

The Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) announced global consulting firm Cowi – based in Denmark – will assist NCA in construction of the Stad Ship Tunnel as a technical advisor.

Norway Shad Ship Tunnel (Image: Multiconsult and Link Arkitektur) A render of Norway’s Shad Ship Tunnel with a cruise vessel navigating the passage. (Image: Multiconsult and Link Arkitektur)

Dubbed the ‘world’s first ship tunnel’, the Stad Ship Tunnel in Vestland county, Norway, was greenlit in 2021 with an allocation of NOK2.7 billion (US$245 million).

“With Cowi on board, we have secured a skilled partner who will assist us with the ship tunnel,” said Terje Skjeppestad, the NCA project manager for the scheme. “[Cowi] will be with us until the tunnel is fully constructed, meaning through both preparatory work and in the tendering, design, construction, and completion phases.”

According to NCA, Cowi will assist with engineering work and consulting in all necessary technical disciplines including geotechnics, geology, structures, technical installations, corrosion, sustainability/environment, and health, safety, and environment (HSE).

A range for the value of the agreement was estimated at $2.7-$8.2 million, which also includes an option for temporary staffing. With the staffing option, the contract has a maximum value of $13.6 million.

Norway-based SINTEF (research and development) and Longvas Oppmåling (surveying) were named as subcontractors.

About Norway’s first-ever Stad Ship Tunnel

The possibility of a tunnel through the mountains of the Stad peninsula has been debated for decades, but a construction plan was first included in Norway’s National Transport Plan in 2013.

The Stad Ship Tunnel, located at the western tip of Norway, will offer haven to ships navigating the most exposed stretch of sea on the country’s coast. The surrounding waters, the Stadhavet Sea, is said to be the most windswept part of the nation’s coastline with storms approximately 100 days of the year, which leads to ships waiting days to pass. Currents created by the meeting point of the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea also complicate navigation.

The tunnel will create a canal bypass near Kjøde on the east end, and, on the west end, the tunnel will open between Eide and Berstad.

The proposed tunnel will be 1.7-km long, 50-m high and 36-m wide, which is large enough for coastal cruise ships to navigate.

Construction of the tunnel is likely to be undertaken using conventional blasting methods, utilising underground drilling rigs and pallet rigs.


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