Longest Underwater Tunnels!
Tunnels are some of the most marvelous displays of engineering. They shorten the distance to be travelled by many folds and handle traffic in an efficient way. Tunnels are constructed in inaccessible areas mostly constructed through mountains and boulders. Tunnels become more interesting when built under water. Below is the list of 10 longest underwater tunnels in the world.
The Thames Tunnel is worth mentioning in this list as it is the oldest underwater tunnel in the world which opened back in 1843. People from across the globe came to witness this marvel as it was the first time people had heard of a tunnel built under a navigable river. Thames tunnel, as the name suggests is under Thames River in London, United Kingdom connecting the cities of Wapping and Rotherhithe.
9. Sydney Harbour Tunnel – 2.8 km
The Sydney Harbour Tunnel connecting the Warringah Freeway to the Eastern Distributor became operational in August of 1992 as a means of decongesting the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Since its opening it has been operated by the Sydney Harbour Tunnel Company, but that is for 30 years, from August of 2022 it will be under public ownership. The has two lanes in each direction and is made up in 3 sections: twin 400 meter land tunnels located on the south shore, the 960 meter immersed tube structure, and the twin 900 meter land tunnels on the north shore.
8. Vardo Tunnel – 2.9 km
Norway has quite a few underwater tunnels; The Vardo Tunnel is oldest underwater tunnel of Norway,it connects Svartnes on the Varanger Peninsula to Vardoya island. The Vardo Tunnel is also a part of the European Route E75 highway
7. Severn Tunnel – 3.62 km
The Severn Tunnel, located in the United Kingdom, connects Monmouthshire to South Gloucestershire, beneath the River Severn. Construction of this Tunnel was carried out from 1873 to 1886, by the Great Western Railway. Although the tunnel’s construction was completed in 1885, it took 14 more years before the tunnel could come in operations for goods trains and passenger traffic because pumping systems were still unfinished in this tunnel. Until very recently, before the high speed 1 tunnels were built in London, the Severn Tunnel was the country’s longest mainline tunnel.
6. North Cape Tunnel – 6.8 km
The North Cape Tunnel is located in the Nordkapp Municipality in the northern area of Norway. It is located beneath the Magerøysundet strait, and connects the mainland to Mageroya island. It opened to the public in June of 1999, but a ferry had to carry passengers and freight across the seas from Honningsvag and Kajford before that. It also serves as one of the major tourist attractions in Lapland, because inside the North Cape Hall, one can enjoy panoramic views. The North Cape tunnel is also a part of the European route E69.
5. Eiksund Tunnel – 7.7 km
The Eiksund Tunnel in Norway connects Hareidlandet Island and Eika island to the mainland. Although it was intended to open for public in July 2007, it opened in February 2008 because construction suffered numerous delays. It was constructed, operated and maintained by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. With 1,000 vehicles crossing it on daily basis and half of which are freight trucks the tunnel is divided into three lanes of traffic.
4. Bomlafjord Tunnel – 7.8 km
The Bomlafjord Tunnel is part of the Triangle Link Project designed to connect the islands of Stord, Bomlo, and Fittjar in Norway together with 3 other bridges. The tunnel also forms three lanes of the European Road E39. The plans for this tunnel were materialized in 1980’s but construction of the Bomlafjord Tunnel began in 1997. By 2011, as much as 3,966 vehicles were commuting on this on daily basis. Safety measures have been integrated into the tunnel including barriers, turning points for trucks in every 1,500 meters, lights in all entrances as well as mobile phone coverage.
3. Tokyo Bay Aqua line – 15 km
The Tokyo Bay Aqua line, opened for public commute in 1997 December, is also recognized as a toll highway which spans the Tokyo Bay of Japan. Its planning and construction took 31 years. This tunnel connects Kawasaki City to Kisazaru City; before the tunnel was constructed people had to drive 100 kilometers along the Tokyo Bay to cross both cities or had to take a ferry.
2. Channel Tunnel – 37.9 km
The Channel Tunnel Connects Pas-De-Calais, in northern France to Folkestone in the United Kingdom. It and has single direction tunnels where the national freight trains, the Eurotunnel shuttle and Eurostar runs. A central service tunnel is connected to all of the lanes, which also provides way to a safety point in the event of an emergency for passengers; it also gives access to emergency and maintenance teams. Although plans and discussion had already began back in 1802. The tunnel was formally opened in May of 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II.
1. Seikan Tunnel – 53.9 km
Japan’s Seikan Tunnel is the longest underwater tunnel in the world, and connects Hokkaido Island with the Aomori Prefecture. Located beneath the Tsugaru Strait, this tunnel was constructed as the government’s response to the public outrage which erupted due to unfortunate sinking of five ferry ships due to a typhoon back in 1954. The extreme weather conditions made bridges too risky according to the engineers hence an undersea tunnel was considered to be the safest way to go. The tunnel was completed in March of 1998.