Tenders ready for longest road tunnel in the world
Location: Norway, Rogaland, Randaberg/Bokn
Opened: Estimated to open in 2025-2026
The Government has submitted proposals for the development and funding of the E39 Rogfast project for the Storting. "This will help to connect business and population closer together in Western Norway". The Parliament (Stortinget) adopted the project on 23 May 2017. In the autumn of 2017, the first tenders will be announced from the project. First tenders will be the preparation works and construction of access tunnels and the tunnel (ramp) to Kvitsoy. In 2018, the tenders for construction of the main tunnels will be announced.
The tunnel will replace a long and vulnerable ferry line. When Rogfast is in place, the journey time between Stavanger and Bergen will be reduced by about 40 minutes. At the same time it will facilitate an expanded business community in the region, which strengthens important business clusters.
The tunnel will be longer than the upcoming Solbakk tunnel (Ryfast), and will also be the deepest in the world. The lowest point in the tunnel will be about 360 meters below sea level!
In the summer of 2014 the project performed directional core drilling from ships. It is important to verify the rocks the tunnel is going through and what the weak zones contains, says the project management.
Norwegian Public Roads Administration has determined that Rogfast be built with a maximum of 5 percent incline up to Arsvagen instead of 6 - 7 percent as previously planned. Maximum 5 percent slope means that the tunnel will be about 1 km longer. The desicition made the tunnel approx. 400 million NOK more expensive.
In accordance with the financing plan for the project, the construction will start early in 2018. The tunnel is expected to open in 2025 or 2026. The project is estimated to cost around NOK 16.8 billion.
A main safety challenge linked to long tunnels is the effect of monotony which can reduce motorists ability to determine speed and distance, and also cause drowsiness.
"To avoid monotony the tunnel will have dedicated sections with expended space where illumination will create more variety and visual stimulation for the motorists"
, says the project manager Tor Geir Espedal.
The tunnel is one of the most complex road tunnels in the world and the safety strategy also have to take into account that there will also be bi-directional traffic in one tube when one tube is closed down due to incidents, operations, maintenance, upgrades and rehabilitations.
The project have to take into account that the tunnel will replace a ferry line. Diversions on other road networks in case of closures, may take several hours driving time. Closures can therefore cause significant economic consequences for the society and for the west coast region, if the tunnel is not designed to handle incidents, operations, maintenance and future upgrades and rehabilitations.
Photo: Arild P. Sovik