Digging deep

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Volvo CE is involved in constructing the world’s longest and deepest underwater highway

Volvo-tunnel
The reconstruction of E39 will reduce travel time along its length by half

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Reconstruction of the Coastal Highway Route E39 in Norway is not only the country’s biggest ever infrastructure project – but the Rogfast Tunnel, of which it is part, will be the world’s longest and deepest underwater highway.

With a depth of up to 392 meters below sea level, this pioneering project is the eighth instalment in Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) Megaproject Listing.

Using new bridge and tunnel building techniques, the project is set to cut travel times between Kristiansand in the south and Trondheim in the north by half. Currently this journey takes 21 hours.

The complete reconstruction of the E39, costing US$39 billion (A$56.8 billion), is at the centre of a new series of films launched recently – putting the people and machines behind this innovative project in the spotlight.

About a third of Norway’s 5.3 million people live along this highway, which is also an important trade route for Norwegian businesses, as some 60 per cent of the country’s export goods are produced on the west coast. In addition, when the E39 leaves Norway it proceeds to Denmark, making it an important entry point to the rest of Europe.

And if – like Håvard Langåker, a truck driver for Vassbakk & Stol – your job means driving this stretch of coastline, then things can be hard.

"I go and get the rocks at the construction site and then I drive it to the other sites in need of material," explains Langåker.

"On the road I need to wait for ferries, stand in ferry lines, deal with cancelled ferries and narrow roads. We have island and fjords with roads which follow the coastline. It takes the longest way, not the shortest, therefore it is quite time consuming." But all this is about to change.

The Rogfast Tunnel, set to be complete in 2026, will stretch 27km and will include two separate tunnels for traffic flow. In addition, every 250 meters will be passages that connect the two tunnels, allowing for a quick and easy exit in case of emergencies.

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