A giant tunnel for ships will make sea journeys safer, Norway says

What do you do if you want to get ships from A to B but in the middle is a huge lump of mountainous rock? Why, build a tunnel, of course. Or a “canal with a roof,” as some have described Norway’s plans for a shipping lane through the Stad peninsula, about 240 miles (385 km) northwest of Oslo.

The Stad Ship Tunnel came a step closer this month when the nation’s government approved funding of around $320 million for the ambitious project. Work could start on what will become the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel as early as next year.

If you’re thinking the idea of the tunnel is to save travel time, think again. The main aim is to enhance ship safety as it would enable vessels to stay in calmer waters and avoid having to navigate part of the sometimes treacherous and exposed North Sea along a route where many lives have been lost over the years.

Overseen by the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA), the tunnel would cut through the narrowest part of the peninsula with a 1.1-mile-long (1.7 km) waterway, 37 meters tall and 26.5 meters wide (121 x 87 feet).

NCA engineer Terje Andreassen told New Atlas that work would first involve drilling horizontally before using explosives to take out the roof part of the tunnel. Bolts and anchors would then be fitted to secure the roof rock before applying shotcrete for further strengthening. “The rest of the tunnel will be done in the same way as in open mining … vertical drilling and blasting with explosives down to the level of 12 meters (42 feet) below the sea level,” Andreassen said.

Up to 100 ships could pass through the tunnel each day, though on average the figure is expected to be around 20. “There will be one-way traffic which will alternate every hour,” the engineer explained. “The traffic will be controlled by one of our vessel traffic centers and slot times will be given to all commercial vessels.”

It’s expected to take around three or four years to blast through the rock, though it could take at least 10 years before we see any cargo-carrying vessels, passenger ferries, and some cruise ships sailing through it.

Aware that the tunnel could become a major visitor attraction not only for those wanting to sail through it but also for land-based tourists in the area, its designers could include bridges over the tunnel entrances for a close-up view of passing vessels.

Renderings (above) of the final design by architecture firm Snøhetta offer a fascinating view of how the tunnel could look. You can also check out this video (top) posted a couple of years ago during earlier governmental discussions about the grand plan.

Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat proves Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm introduced the redesigned 2020 Passat with a new look and more tech at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Gaming

If we get a Nintendo 64 Classic, it needs to have these games

The Nintendo 64 introduced a long list of top-tier games, but which were the iconic platform's best? From Mario Party to Ocarina of Time to NFL Blitz, check out our picks for the best N64 games.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.