The Eiksund Tunnel – the World's Deepest Undersea Road Tunnel

Orsta, one of the two municipalities that the Eiksund Tunnel connects.
Orsta, one of the two municipalities that the Eiksund Tunnel connects.

The Eiksund tunnel is located in the European country of Norway in the Scandinavian Peninsula. It connects the two municipalities of Ulstein and Ørsta situated in the Norwegian Møre og Romsdal county. The tunnel runs below Vartdalsfjorden which is 20 km long fjord with a maximum depth of 365 m.

Depth Of The Eiksund Tunnel

The Eiksund Tunnel is the deepest undersea tunnel in not just Norway as well as in the world. It runs as deep as 287 m below sea level. It has a length of 7,765 m, a width of 10 m, and three lanes.

History Of Construction Of The Eiksund Tunnel

The Eiksund Tunnel was built as part of a project involving the construction of a bridge and three tunnels connecting several islands on the Vartdalsfjorden with mainland Norway.

Initially, the aim was to open the tunnel to the public in 2007. However, in the face of numerous barriers to the progress of its construction, the Eiksund was finally opened on February 23, 2008.

The construction of the tunnel involved drilling and blasting through the bedrock of the Vartdalsfjorden. 1,300 tonnes of explosive were used for the purpose and massive volumes of rock debris were generated at the construction site.

Usage Of The Eiksund Tunnel

The Eiksund Tunnel along with the other tunnels and the Eiksund bridge together serve to link the island communities in the Vartdalsfjorden with those on the mainland. The bridge-tunnel complex serves 6 municipalities that together have a population of over 40,000.

The Eiksund Tunnel is linked to the Eiksund Bridge. The latter connects the Hareidlandet island to Eika Island. The Eiksund Tunnel begins where the bridge ends on Eika Island.

Prior to the construction of the tunnel, it was estimated that 1,000 vehicles would pass through it each day. However, nearly double that number of vehicles traversed the tunnel after its opening. Six years later when the full funding necessary for its construction had been received, the tunnel was made toll free. Soon, its traffic grew further to 2800 vehicles daily.

Eiksund Tunnel’s World Record To Be Replaced By Rogfast Tunnel

Norway is currently building another subsea tunnel called the Rogaland Fixed Link or the Rogfast Tunnel that when successfully completed will set the record of being the world’s longest and deepest road tunnel. It will connect the municipalities of Randaberg and Bokn in Rogaland county, Norway. It is planned to have a length of 27 km and a maximum depth of 392 m. It is projected to be ready by 2025-26.


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