The E39 highway in Norway is probably one of the most spectacular bits of road in the world as far as scenery goes. It runs from Kristiansand to Trondheim, but there’s a problem: Norway’s beautiful, fjord-festooned coastline isn’t really suited to long-distance car travel. As such, the journey takes 21 hours, and includes seven ferry rides.
However, a huge infrastructure project in the country aims to cut that journey time in half, and the most interesting part of that is how the E39 might cut across some of the lager fjords. Some are too wide for a bridge, and too deep for a tunnel. The solution? A ‘floating bridge tunnel’.
It’d consist of a pair of concrete tubes, connected by a series of trusses and attached to floating pontoons on the fjord surface. If extra stability is needed, the tubes could even be tethered to the fjord’s bedrock. It’d likely be the first tunnel of its kind in the world.
So, will it actually happen? At the moment it’s still just a proposal, and one that’s actually a few years old - it’s just been put back in the media spotlight over the last few weeks, perhaps due to a final decision being expected by the end of the year. It wouldn’t be finished for a while either, with the E39 project not due for completion until 2035.
But we hope it does get built, because it sounds like an incredible concept. Driving through it for the first time might be a little terrifying, though…