Norway will spend billions on floating underwater tunnels


Norway's beautiful landscape surrounded by endless fjords draws tourists from all over the world. For locals, however, the vast expanses of water that cut through the country's coastal areas are a road traffic nightmare.

Currently, the only way to get across them is by taking ferries, which are slow and frustrating. To combat this, the Norwegian government has hatched an ambitious plan to build underwater tunnels suspended from floating pontoons.

It's believed to be the first of its kind and the idea has been forced on planners because of the characteristics of the country's waterways. Traditional tunnel and bridge solutions wouldn't work owing to the depths of each fjord and concerns over the region's occasionally extreme weather.

The Norwegian navy has also put a stop to suspension bridge plans as they would limit its ability to move quickly around the country.

Instead, floating pontoons will be placed at regular intervals, far enough apart that ships are unimpeded. Two tubes, which allow traffic to flow in both directions, will run 100 feet below the surface, hanging from the pontoons. Where possible, further cables will be attached to the floor of the fjord for extra stability.

At least, that's the idea. Nothing like this has ever been built, so it's still unclear exactly how the set-up would cope with rough seas and how much of an effect the tide would have on the structure.

Norway's government hasn't revealed exactly where these bridges will be built, nor how many it expects to put in place, but it has set aside 214 billion Norwegian krone (£19 billion) for the project. It is targeting completion by 2035.