Norway is covered in mountains. Rather than going over them, Norwegians prefer to go through them. So advanced is the Norwegian tunnel-making technology that tunnels are built with turns, u-turns, round-a-bouts, car parking and turning spots specifically for trucks!
Norway has had many world records for their tunnels. (At the moment) the worlds longest road tunnel is Lærdalstunnelen in Sogn og Fjordane county with a stretch of 24.5Km. It was designed with three separate halls that are especially lit to give the driver the illusion of daylight to stop them from falling asleep at the wheel. Tromsø city has an underground network that reaches all corners of the island. It has several round-a-bouts, parking and stretches under the water to the main land. The Nordkapp (North Cape) tunnel is the world’s longest undersea road tunnel stretching over 6.8Km and reaching 212m below sea level. It replaced the old boat connection between Magerøya and the main land. (It’s funny how they say that Nordkapp is the northern-most point of mainland Europe when it’s actually on an island.)
Founded in 1963, Norsk Forening for Fjellsprengningsteknikk – NFF (The Norwegian Tunnelling Society) initiates co-operation and exchanges with national and international companies in the rock blasting and tunnelling industry. They are active in sharing their knowledge of rock technology and research with the rest of the world. They also work to develop new and effective technologies and to educate governments and the general public of the importance of ‘rock work’ to the economy.
For me, going through a Norwegian tunnel for the first time is exciting as you never can tell how long, how dark, how cold, or how deep it will be from its slumbering appearance on the outside. There is a strange calmness when you are travelling through the belly of a mountain. I love taking pictures as we drive–I am fascinated with the light patterns made by each tunnel. The best part is when your eyes pass through the light of day and you first see what’s on the other side.