Saturday, 9 January 2016

Lærdal Tunnel – Innovation in the Heart of Nature

The Lærdal Tunnel is a 24.5 km long road tunnel connecting Lærdal and Aurland, located approximately 175–200 km from Bergen. It is the longest road tunnel in the world. It carries two lanes of European Route E16 and represents the final link on the new highway connecting Oslo and Bergen without ferry connections and mountain crossings during winter. 

The Lærdal Tunnel, Norway

The constriction works were carried out from 1995 until 2000 with the overall cost of € 120 million. The Tunnel was opened on November 27, 2000 by the king of Norway Harald V. And the pass there is free of charge. 

Norwegian geographic particularities, like mountain relief, risks of rock falls, harsh northern climate and multiple fjords, make it difficult to ensure solid auto transport infrastructure, and ferries cannot afford stable connections all year round. That is why in recent 20 years the focus has been made on building bridges and tunnels (the Eiksund Tunnel which is the deepest in the world, is also situated in Norway). 

The Lærdal Tunnel

The Lærdal Tunnel is divided in four sections with grottos. The grottos serve as turning points for automobiles as well as places to stop and have some rest. Specially designed lighting of the grottos makes the journey more exciting and engaging. It takes about 20 minutes to drive along the Tunnel. 

Safety measures there are cutting edge, with urgency telephones placed every 250 meters, fire-extinguishers placed every 125 meters and 15 turning points supplementary to the grottos. The Lærdal Tunnel was the first one that uses both air ventilation and air purification equipment. 

The Lærdal Tunnel, Norway

In average, 1000 vehicles pass the tunnel daily. The mountains through which the tunnel goes, reach up to 1600 meters. 

Lærdal is famous for its Salmon Center, the old street with the houses dating back to the 17-18 centuries and Borgund Stave Church built in 1180. 

Borgund Stave Chirch


1. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a railway tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland expected to open on 1 June 2016. With a route length of 57 km and a total of 151.84 km of tunnels, shafts and passages, it will be the world's longest and deepest traffic tunnel and the first flat low-level route through the Alps. 

2. The Seikan Tunnel (53.85 km) is a railway tunnel in Japan, with a 23.3 km long portion under the seabed. The track level is about 240 meters below sea level. 

Seikan Tunnel, Japan

It travels beneath the Tsugaru Strait – connecting Aomori Prefecture on the main Japanese island of Honshu with the northern island of Hokkaido. 

3. The Channel Tunnel (50.5 km) is a rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in the United Kingdom, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, near Calais in northern France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. 

Channel Tunnel

4. The Lötschberg Base Tunnel (34.57 km) is a railway tunnel cutting through the Alps of Switzerland some 400 meters below the existing Lötschberg Tunnel. It runs between Frutigen, Berne, and Raron, Valais. 

5. The Guadarrama Tunnel is a railway tunnel across the Sierra de Guadarrama, along the high-speed route Madrid-Valladolid in Spain.  

The Guadarrama Tunnel, Spain

The tunnel has two tubes. The western tube is 28,407 meter long and the eastern tube 28,418 meter long.

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