Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Norwegian Engineers Are Attempting Something Never Done Before: Floating Underwater Highways
Via Business Insider: Norway is contemplating some futuristic road projects. Fjords are beautiful for sure, and Norway is basically nothing but fjords. But for those wanting to get from point A to point B with a fjord or two or seven in the way, they can be quite irksome, referring drivers to ferries. This represents an enormous infrastructural problem for Norway, and the Norwegian parliament has decided that the E39 highway shall become ferry-free. Bridges and tunnels - Norway already has many of them - wont always do the trick. Sometimes a gap is too deep for a tunnel to be a plausible solution, or too wide for a bridge - refering drivers to ferries. Luckily, there is a new solution. In a feasibility study, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration presents designs for the world's first submerged floating tunnels, that, if implemented, will let cars pass underneath the surface of fjords without hindering the entrance of ships. The design features to antiparallel tubes floating with the help of pontoons and Archimedes' principle. Each tube will be big enough for two driving lanes. The pontoons are spaced far enough apart to allow big ships to pass in between. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is simultaneously looking at other possible solutions, like floating bridges, or a combination of a floating bridge and a submerged floating tunnel. The submerged tunnel project is not the first of its kind to be proposed, but if Norway goes forward with the plans it will be the first time the concept is put to test in reality. And if it proves a success it could open up for similar solutions all over the world. One submerged tunnel that has long been suggested is a transatlantic highway connecting Europe with America through Iceland.