Norway Is About to Build an Underwater Suspension Bridge

Fjords may be gorgeous, but they're also a huge inconvenience.

Norway — that Scandinavian haven dotted with mountains and series of narrow sea inlets called fjords — has a major problem: It’s nearly impossible to cross some terrain. Bridges aren’t an option in a country famous for its Arctic freeze, and underwater tunnels are also out since the country’s got a system of deep ravines that can extend for as long as a mile.

So Norway’s figured out a solution that’s making suspension bridges look ultra last century: the country’s Public Roads Administration has hatched a $25 billion plan to construct the world’s first submerged floating bridge.

Until now, the typical Nordic method of crossing a fjord has been by ferry. Though slow, ferries are dependable in a way that more run-of-the-mill means of traversing water just aren’t.

If everything goes according to plan, the NPRA will install two curved, 4,000-foot long concrete tubes which will be suspended by pontoons and hang about 65 to 100 feet below the surface. For extra stability, the bridge-tunnel may also be bolted to the bedrock below. Engineers are currently eyeing one of Norway’s most famous fjords, Sognefjord, as their test case.

The potential positive impact that this or any future suspension tunnel may have on the country is immeasurable. At the moment, experts are suggesting that a series of similar installations may help reduce travel time throughout the country by as much as a third. These suspension tunnels would also drastically increase citizens access to emergency services.

At the moment, Norway’s ambitious bridge-tunnel deal is set to be completed by 2035.

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