Implementation, Planning and Construction
The idea behind the E39 Coastal Highway Route was to develop a continuous main road along the west coast, north to south.
There is a lot of activity going on along the coast, such as fish farming and maritime industry, and the route runs through the most productive regions in Norway. The greatest challenges consisted of crossing fiords with solutions not previously utilised.
The most «extreme» of these fiords are, from the south: Boknafjorden, Bjørnafjorden, Sognefjorden and Sulafjorden. In addition, there are the fiords Langenuen, Nordfjord, Vartdalsfjorden, Romsdalsfjorden and Halsafjorden.
One of the world’s longest tunnels in Boknafjorden
The crossing of Boknafjorden will take place in a subsea tunnel. The tunnel will be built with 4 lanes (twin tubes). This tunnel will be one of the world’s longest tunnels with its approximately 27 km, and one of the deepest when it goes down to 290 metres below sea level. If the funding falls into place, Construction started in December 2017.
Bjørnafjorden with its width of around 5000 metres is challenging to cross. Different solutions have been considered, including a combination of floating bridge, tube bridge/floating tunnel, and a suspension bridge on floating platforms. No conclusion has yet been made as to what will be the final solution, and data are now being collected and registered with regard to wind, waves and current. The municipal sub-plan is in progress, and the plan is for construction to start in 2021.
Sognefjorden was the fiord crossing which started the work to assess technologies for crossing extreme fjords. This work forms the basis for subsequent development and design of structures. The crossing of Sognefjorden is not scheduled for construction start until 2031.
Sulafjorden distinguishes itself from the other fiord crossings in its proximity to the open sea. This fiord is affected by ocean swells to a greater extent than the other fiords, and crossing it is a challenge. Collection and registration of data on wind, waves and current in the fiord has started, as well as a preliminary study of potential bridge concepts. The Sulafjorden crossing is scheduled for construction start in 2029.
Romsdalsfjorden: Possible construction start in 2020
If the funding is sorted out, the crossing of Romsdalsfiorden may start in 2020. The fiord will have a 16-km-long subsea tunnel. In addition, the project includes a 1600-metre-long suspension bridge across Julsundet, west of Molde.
The road sections between the fiord crossings are currently partly being planned and partly under construction. Work is being done to adapt the project to the existing road so that traffic flow can be maintained throughout the construction phase.
Subproject Manager is Kjartan J Hove.