Norway is embarking on the largest roadway infrastructure plan in it's history. This highway maybe the world's first revamp road with a budget of 47 US Billion Dollars. This coastal highway is going to connect areas that used to take 21 hours to travel between. It is going to bypass seven ferry closing and cut travel time by half.
All these is possible by creating the world's first floating highway. From state of the art floating tunnels to how they are dealing with safety concerns, let us look at the Norway's ambitious project;
The project aims at replacing ferries with bridges and create conventional tunnels as well as what could be the world's first floating tunnel to form a highway. This floating highway is a pair of concrete tubes submerged about 100 feet(30.48 metres) below the water surface. This new and modern technology would connect Norwegian cities in ways they haven't been before.
The steep,icy mountains and deep fjords make western Norway a famous tourist attraction but they also make it difficult for the construction of roads . The weather can be unpredictable with roads having to cross and ferries have to cancel their departure due to snow and high waves. This causes people to cancel their plans but this is all solved by the submerged floating highway which is completely hidden. The new design Norway is going with is called The Submerged Floating Tube Bridge(SFTB).
With bridges suspending over long distances you need arches and suspension at certain points, but for a submerged floating tunnel, if u do it absolutely correct and balance the weight of the structure, it can go forever," said Nils Anders Ronnquist, a professor of structural engineering at the Norwegian university of science and technology.
Though the floating tunnels is buoyant, it isn't actually floating, the tubes would be stabilized by cables tethered to the sea bed or by pontoons floating on the surface at roughly 800 feet intervals. With most of the hardware far below the surface, the tunnel wouldn't interfere with the movement of ships,boats and even submarines.
One of the proposed project is the Boknafjurden and is called The Rogaland Fixed Link( Rogfast), construction has already began. It would be 390 metres deep and have a 27 km tunnel making it the deepest and longest underwater tunnel in the world.
Like conventional tunnels, the floating tunnels will have escape route that motorist can take to return to the surface. Incase of an emergency the Rogfast will have an emergency exit every 250 metres along with emergency lights and phones at every interval.
The design of this innovative submerged tunnel is definitely technological, but with fires and explosion comes a lot of brand new problems. Norway has been testing their readiness incase something like that happens. With a standby emergency services to manouvre through the tunnel.
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