Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Norwegian Tunnels

All the tunnels in Norway as logged by http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/
Some of the potential occupants of
Norweigan Tunnels
If you've ever driven along the coast of Norway, you know that in addition to beautiful fjords, stave churches and lovely people, Norway has a lot of tunnels.  There are over 900 tunnels for roadways.  That works out to approximately one tunnel for every 5500 citizens of Norway.  Lets compare that to the most tunnel-per-capita-state (Alaska) which has approximately one tunnel per 666,000 people - 100 times fewer! There are so many tunnels in Norway that people have created websites just to help cyclists understand what tunnels they are allowed to ride through and which they aren't.



This is what the Lærdal Tunnel looked like when we passed by in June 2000
As you might imagine, after building this many tunnels the Norwegians have gotten pretty good at it.  In fact, they have built the longest roadway tunnel in the world (24.5 km = ~15 mi).  It is the Lærdalstunnelen (Lærdal Tunnel) in Lærdal, Norway.  About 12 years ago, we drove past this tunnel as it was still under construction.  We didn't drive through when we were wandering around Norway last summer either.   However, a fellow named Andrew did drive through it, and posted a video of his experience on YouTube (isn't the web great?).  To make it more bearable, he sped up his film 800% to make it go by a bit more quickly.  I calculate his apparent speed at about 360mph, still, this is a really long tunnel.


Pretty exciting movie eh?  Yeah, well, I really think Andrew should have used the Hall of the Mountain King by Greig for the music, but otherwise... well, there it is... the longest automobile tunnel in the world.  Just one example fo the great stories we bring you here at Digital Diner.