AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel  (Read 1437 times)

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2142
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 08:30:58 AM
    • Flickr
Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« on: January 24, 2018, 07:43:47 AM »

Rogfast is the world's largest road tunnel project in the coming years. North of Stavanger, Norway, a 16.5 mile (27 km) undersea, twin-tube tunnel will be constructed under the Boknafjord. It is part of the coastal route E39 and replaces a lengthy ferry ride.

* length: 26,570 m (87,172 ft)
* two tubes, 110 km/h (70 mph) speed limit
* maximum depth: 390 meters (1,280 ft) below sea level
* a complete diamond interchange at -266 m / -873 ft to KvitsÝy
* two underground roundabouts at this diamond interchange
* cost: 16.5 billion NOK / $ 2.1 billion

The first tunnel contract has already been awarded and construction has started in early January. The main tunnel boring contracts are expected to be awarded through 2018. To save time, they will bore the tunnel from several directions. The project uses the standard shield method; boring the tunnel with explosives. This is cost-effective and relatively quick.

The name 'Rogfast' is a portmanteau of two words: Rogaland (the province it is located in) and fastlandsforbindelsen: a fixed link. Some other major fixed link projects in Norway were also named this way, such as Hordfast in Hordaland and Lofast in Lofoten.

A video:

Alps

  • Everybody Obeys the Octagon
  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11849
  • Views expressed are my own, not my employer's.

  • Age: 35
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 11:42:56 PM
    • Alps' Roads
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 08:00:46 AM »

This appears to bypass two tunnels on the existing route leading to some of the nearby islands. I can't say I've ever come across a tunnel with other tunnels as old alignments.

mgk920

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3016
  • Location: Appleton, WI USA
  • Last Login: Today at 12:34:52 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 10:57:13 PM »

This appears to bypass two tunnels on the existing route leading to some of the nearby islands. I can't say I've ever come across a tunnel with other tunnels as old alignments.

That's not unusual with railroads.  An example is BNSF's ex GN Cascade Tunnel in Washington.  The current tunnel, opened in 1929, is what now would be referred to as a 'base' tunnel that replaced an older major mountain tunnel that was at a higher altitude, also bypassing a series of fantastically expensive to maintain snowsheds that protected the tortuous line that led up to it.

Mike
Logged

Road Hog

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1052
  • Location: Collin County, TX
  • Last Login: September 24, 2018, 07:27:15 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 11:30:42 PM »

Tried to find a corresponding German word, but "tunnel" (der Tunnel) is the same in both German and English. Trying to find the "fast" cognate for Norwegian.

EDIT: Best I could find is the compound noun in Danish. "Fastland" means mainland, "forbindelsen" means connection. The word in German would be, in typical Deustch fashion, "die Festlandverbindung."
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 11:38:35 PM by Road Hog »
Logged

MaxConcrete

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 454
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 12:02:38 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 11:44:34 PM »

* cost: 16.5 billion NOK / $ 2.1 billion

Wow, that's an incredibly low cost for twin tunnels 27 km long with the underground interchange, around $78 million per km. New subway tunnels in NYC cost $1 billion per km, and tunnels elsewhere in the U.S. also tend to be very expensive (so expensive that very few ever get built.)

Maybe Elon Musk should talk to the Norwegians about how to build inexpensive tunnels, and bring the techniques to Los Angeles!

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2142
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 08:30:58 AM
    • Flickr
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2018, 09:34:46 AM »

The Scandinavian bedrock is mostly solid granite, which is a very favorable condition to build tunnels in. Virtually all tunnels in Norway are blasted with the shield method. Immersed tunnels are usually not an option due to the depth and steepness of the fjords and tunnel boring machines are only used infrequently (more so for rail tunnels than road tunnels).

Nearby is the under construction Ryfylke Tunnel (14.3 km) near Stavanger. It will be completed next year and is also a twin-tube tunnel.

The project is called 'Ryfast' and is a set of three twin-tube tunnels, with a total tunnel tube length of ~50 kilometers (30 miles). The cost amounts to 9.3 billion NOK / $ 1.1 billion.




This appears to bypass two tunnels on the existing route leading to some of the nearby islands. I can't say I've ever come across a tunnel with other tunnels as old alignments.

Soon there will be one in Seattle: The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel bypasses the older Battery Street Tunnel.

vdeane

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 9400
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Latham, NY
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 09:39:31 PM
    • New York State Roads
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2018, 01:31:23 PM »

I don't suppose we can get Norway to build the tunnel across the Long Island Sound?  A report just came out with a $55 billion estimate for the same length.
Logged
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position of NYSDOT or its affiliates.

Alps

  • Everybody Obeys the Octagon
  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11849
  • Views expressed are my own, not my employer's.

  • Age: 35
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 11:42:56 PM
    • Alps' Roads
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 05:17:55 PM »


Soon there will be one in Seattle: The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel bypasses the older Battery Street Tunnel.
But is the old tunnel remaining in service?

nexus73

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1349
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Coos Bay OR
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 06:55:13 PM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2018, 07:53:25 PM »

Funny to think of a freeway interchange being so deep that even WW2 subs did not go that far!  Amazing engineering indeed!

Rick
Logged
US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

cpzilliacus

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10111
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Maryland
  • Last Login: September 24, 2018, 02:07:38 PM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 11:56:28 AM »

Tried to find a corresponding German word, but "tunnel" (der Tunnel) is the same in both German and English. Trying to find the "fast" cognate for Norwegian.

Fast means fixed in this context (it's the same in  Swedish, which I speak). 
Logged
Opinions expressed here on AAROADS are strictly personal and mine alone, and do not reflect policies or positions of MWCOG, NCRTPB or their member federal, state, county and municipal governments or any other agency.

compdude787

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 399
  • Age: 23
  • Location: Lynnwood, WA
  • Last Login: Today at 03:30:17 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 12:59:31 AM »

Wow, this is really cool! I love the way the interchange is completely buried deep into the earth! And I'm amazed at how DEEP it is as well!  :wow:



Soon there will be one in Seattle: The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel bypasses the older Battery Street Tunnel.
But is the old tunnel remaining in service?

No, the Battery St. tunnel is going to be filled in after the new Alaskan Way Tunnel is complete.

Plutonic Panda

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 653
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Last Login: September 19, 2018, 01:12:35 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2018, 10:41:47 AM »

* cost: 16.5 billion NOK / $ 2.1 billion

Wow, that's an incredibly low cost for twin tunnels 27 km long with the underground interchange, around $78 million per km. New subway tunnels in NYC cost $1 billion per km, and tunnels elsewhere in the U.S. also tend to be very expensive (so expensive that very few ever get built.)

Maybe Elon Musk should talk to the Norwegians about how to build inexpensive tunnels, and bring the techniques to Los Angeles!
Seriously though, why is that? I expected the cost to be a little lower than here in the states, but I was thinking of a number around 10-20 billion.

Wasnít the proposed 710 tunnel estimated around 11 billion? This tunnel is much longer and a fraction of the cost. I really am amazed.
Logged

Plutonic Panda

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 653
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Last Login: September 19, 2018, 01:12:35 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2018, 10:54:04 AM »

I just canít wrap my head around this tunnel. Iím usually one who criticizes projects for taking too long, but even 2026 seems reasonable for a project this size.

Pardon my ignorance, I know Norway has great engineering, but will this tunnel be state of the art engineering like a new tunnel in the U.S. would be? I only ask because I still canít believe the low price of this thing.
Logged

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2142
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 08:30:58 AM
    • Flickr
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 03:26:03 PM »

Denmark will start construction on the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel to Germany in the next year or so. It is an 18.2 kilometer, four-tube, immersed road / rail tunnel.

The price tag? 15.2 billion DKK / $ 8.7 billion, including $ 1.1 billion reserved for unforeseen problems. This includes upgrades to the railroad as well.

https://femern.com/en

If you compare that to the $ 33 - 52 billion price tag floating around for a Long Island Sound Crossing, it's unbelievable. And before you think everything is cheap in Europe: Denmark is one of the most expensive countries for labor in the world. The average gross wage in Denmark is some $ 6,400 per month, which considerably higher than say Germany, France or the UK.

Duke87

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5013
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Queens, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 12:46:30 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 03:28:03 PM »

* cost: 16.5 billion NOK / $ 2.1 billion
Wow, that's an incredibly low cost for twin tunnels 27 km long with the underground interchange, around $78 million per km. New subway tunnels in NYC cost $1 billion per km, and tunnels elsewhere in the U.S. also tend to be very expensive (so expensive that very few ever get built.)
Seriously though, why is that? I expected the cost to be a little lower than here in the states, but I was thinking of a number around 10-20 billion.

It's for several reasons, including but not limited to:
- Regulatory requirements in the United States regarding construction are incredibly onerous, especially in a state like New York. That subway tunnel in NYC most likely required at least twice as many people on site to do the same amount of work, just to satisfy all the red tape.
- The cost of construction in a lot of places in the US is also driven up by the need to give a certain percentage of the contracts to small businesses that are minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, etc. This is not a thing in Europe, where economic mobility is higher and so there isn't a need to use government contracts as a means of providing welfare to disadvantaged groups, and where veterans aren't worshiped like they are in the US.
- Construction specifications in many cases in the United States are habitually written to be extremely specific, to the point that the wheel is reinvented every time something is built. All of that effort to customize everything to fit the exact requirements spelled out in the contract costs a lot. You could save a lot if specs were written to give the contractor more room to do things the way that works best for them, except for...
- The tort culture in the United States. So much money is often spent on things that aren't really functionally necessary for the sake of the project but are cheaper than having to try to fend off a lawsuit.
- And on that note, the fact that in the US it's impossible to get anything big built without having to spend years getting dragged through court by anyone and everyone who opposes it for one reason or another.  How many lawsuits were filed against this tunnel project in Norway by some random enviornmentalist group arguing that it would negatively impact the habitat of some endangered sea monkeys? The laws in Europe do not enable this to nearly the degree that they do in the US. This allows projects to not have their costs driven up by legal fees, or by the need to implement various mitigation measures that may be mandated as a result of those court battles.
Logged
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2142
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 08:30:58 AM
    • Flickr
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2018, 04:34:45 PM »

I wouldn't underestimate the regulatory environment in Europe, but New York seems to have many excesses even compared to notoriously regulated France, which was shown in the recent New York Times exposť on the subway tunnels costing 5 times more than a similar project in Paris.

The pro of this tunnel is that it basically impacts nothing. It's well below the sea bed, so there is no impact on marine wildlife. The main challenges are geological, not environmental. They have done extensive test boring and geological surveys to map the best alignment for the tunnel.

Strangely, there isn't much opposition against road projects in Norway from environmentalists or ideologists, unlike the rest of Scandinavia. Anti-car sentiment is mostly in the city of Oslo, the only place where the Greens are in office. The Greens have only 1 seat in the 169 seat Storting (parliament).

Alps

  • Everybody Obeys the Octagon
  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11849
  • Views expressed are my own, not my employer's.

  • Age: 35
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 11:42:56 PM
    • Alps' Roads
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2018, 05:25:26 PM »

It's for several reasons, including but not limited to:
- The cost of construction in a lot of places in the US is also driven up by the need to give a certain percentage of the contracts to small businesses that are minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, etc. This is not a thing in Europe, where economic mobility is higher and so there isn't a need to use government contracts as a means of providing welfare to disadvantaged groups, and where veterans aren't worshiped like they are in the US.
I disagree with this. The requirement (I wouldn't say need) to give percentages to these businesses is based on the difficulties faced by these groups in achieving equality in the workplace. Women have been held down for centuries in this country, as have most minorities. This is why minorities have ended up at a socioeconomic disadvantage, so we are trying to level the playing field by forcing opportunities for them to succeed and help create that economic mobility we lack. Other countries don't have our long history of segregation of women and minorities, and therefore do not have the same requirements in place that we do. As for veterans, they find it difficult to be successful in business because they have spent years in the field instead of in college. They are often from disadvantaged economic classes and can't afford the best colleges, and therefore do not get the best opportunities regardless of their skill set. Being in battle has also left them with issues such as alcoholism, depression, PTSD, etc. This is a problem in the USA where we have such a large standing armed forces with deployments to combat all around the world. Norway does not engage in active combat around the world, and I would bet their veterans have the same access to education as everyone else, so again they do not need the requirements in place to help level the playing field.

Duke87

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5013
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Queens, NY
  • Last Login: Today at 12:46:30 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2018, 08:14:22 PM »

It's for several reasons, including but not limited to:
- The cost of construction in a lot of places in the US is also driven up by the need to give a certain percentage of the contracts to small businesses that are minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, etc. This is not a thing in Europe, where economic mobility is higher and so there isn't a need to use government contracts as a means of providing welfare to disadvantaged groups, and where veterans aren't worshiped like they are in the US.
I disagree with this. The requirement (I wouldn't say need) to give percentages to these businesses is based on the difficulties faced by these groups in achieving equality in the workplace. Women have been held down for centuries in this country, as have most minorities. This is why minorities have ended up at a socioeconomic disadvantage, so we are trying to level the playing field by forcing opportunities for them to succeed and help create that economic mobility we lack. Other countries don't have our long history of segregation of women and minorities, and therefore do not have the same requirements in place that we do. As for veterans, they find it difficult to be successful in business because they have spent years in the field instead of in college. They are often from disadvantaged economic classes and can't afford the best colleges, and therefore do not get the best opportunities regardless of their skill set. Being in battle has also left them with issues such as alcoholism, depression, PTSD, etc. This is a problem in the USA where we have such a large standing armed forces with deployments to combat all around the world. Norway does not engage in active combat around the world, and I would bet their veterans have the same access to education as everyone else, so again they do not need the requirements in place to help level the playing field.

I don't dispute any of what you're saying, but I am not aiming to judge or question the merits of these requirements. I am merely pointing out that the fact that we have them is a contributing factor to construction costs being higher in the US.
Logged
If you always take the same road, you will never see anything new.

Plutonic Panda

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 653
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Last Login: September 19, 2018, 01:12:35 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2018, 08:49:43 PM »

Duke, Iím not disagreeing with you but it is hard to wrap my mind around how much more the costs are here compared to Europe.

I just canít comprehend how they can build a nearly 30 mile tunnel with a huge underground interchange halfway rising to connect to a town nearly 800 feet above it. This tunnel is so complex. Now compare to the 710 tunnel proposed in LA that was to be 8 lanes wide and 4 miles long. One was estimated to cost 10 billion and the other is to cost 2 billion. Guess which one is which. This truly is mind boggling for me.
Logged

Alps

  • Everybody Obeys the Octagon
  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11849
  • Views expressed are my own, not my employer's.

  • Age: 35
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 11:42:56 PM
    • Alps' Roads
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2018, 10:02:42 PM »

Duke, Iím not disagreeing with you but it is hard to wrap my mind around how much more the costs are here compared to Europe.

I just canít comprehend how they can build a nearly 30 mile tunnel with a huge underground interchange halfway rising to connect to a town nearly 800 feet above it. This tunnel is so complex. Now compare to the 710 tunnel proposed in LA that was to be 8 lanes wide and 4 miles long. One was estimated to cost 10 billion and the other is to cost 2 billion. Guess which one is which. This truly is mind boggling for me.
A lot easier to build a tunnel when no one lives above it and you can just go nice and deep and not worry.

Plutonic Panda

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 653
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Last Login: September 19, 2018, 01:12:35 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 11:22:41 PM »

Duke, Iím not disagreeing with you but it is hard to wrap my mind around how much more the costs are here compared to Europe.

I just canít comprehend how they can build a nearly 30 mile tunnel with a huge underground interchange halfway rising to connect to a town nearly 800 feet above it. This tunnel is so complex. Now compare to the 710 tunnel proposed in LA that was to be 8 lanes wide and 4 miles long. One was estimated to cost 10 billion and the other is to cost 2 billion. Guess which one is which. This truly is mind boggling for me.
A lot easier to build a tunnel when no one lives above it and you can just go nice and deep and not worry.
7 billion more for a tunnel thatís 24 miles shorter? Like I said, Iím not saying youíre wrong, itís just hard for me to wrap my head around. But, I do see the advantages of the remote nature of the project area.
Logged

cpzilliacus

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10111
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Maryland
  • Last Login: September 24, 2018, 02:07:38 PM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2018, 02:16:45 PM »

Rogfast is the world's largest road tunnel project in the coming years. North of Stavanger, Norway, a 16.5 mile (27 km) undersea, twin-tube tunnel will be constructed under the Boknafjord. It is part of the coastal route E39 and replaces a lengthy ferry ride.

* length: 26,570 m (87,172 ft)
* two tubes, 110 km/h (70 mph) speed limit
* maximum depth: 390 meters (1,280 ft) below sea level
* a complete diamond interchange at -266 m / -873 ft to KvitsÝy
* two underground roundabouts at this diamond interchange
* cost: 16.5 billion NOK / $ 2.1 billion

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen) is on record as wanting all ferry crossings along Highway E39 to be replaced by fixed links, either below-sea tunnels, bridges, floating bridges (!) or even floating tunnels (!!).  Thanks to oil revenues and high taxes on Norwegian citizens, I think they have the money to build all of it.

When all of this work is complete, there will be a lot of serious highway porn over the roughly 1,100 kilometers (about 685 U.S. miles) between Kristiansand in the south and Trondheim in central Norway. 

South of Kristiansand, E39 rides another ferry to Hirtshals, Denmark (it's about 140 kilometers (87 miles) between Kristiansand and Hirtshals across the open sea of the Skagerrak (an arm of the North Sea) - I do not think that they have figured out how to build a highway tunnel that long - yet (but stay tuned)).
Logged
Opinions expressed here on AAROADS are strictly personal and mine alone, and do not reflect policies or positions of MWCOG, NCRTPB or their member federal, state, county and municipal governments or any other agency.

Chris

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2142
  • International road enthusiast

  • Age: 31
  • Location: the Netherlands
  • Last Login: Today at 08:30:58 AM
    • Flickr
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2018, 02:51:42 PM »

Several other crossings are currently being planned.

* BjÝrnafjord. South of Bergen. The project is called Hordfast, floating suspension bridges or floating cable-stayed bridges appear to be the preferred solution. Studies are relatively advanced at this point.
* Sognefjord. The widest and deepest fjord. Options are being explored, but planning is preliminary so far. The fjord is considered too wide and deep for conventional bridges and tunnels. Sognefjord is 1250 meters deep and 4 kilometers wide.
* Nordfjord. West of Stryn. A large suspension bridge with a 1555 meter span is planned here. It could start construction by the mid-2020s.
* Sulafjord. Near Ňlesund. Several options are being explored, including extremely long span suspension bridges, floating bridges of floating tunnels. They are currently logging wind speed data and sea behavior as a pre-study.
* Romsdalsfjord. Southwest of Molde. A 15.5 kilometer twin-tube tunnel is planned, construction could start in 2019 if funded in the national transportation plan. It already has environmental clearance.
* Julsund: connecting to the Romsdalsfjord Tunnel, a very large suspension bridge with a 1625 meter main span is planned here. Would be the longest suspension bridge in Europe, being 1 meter longer than the Great Belt Bridge. Construction could also start by 2019.
* Halsafjord: east of Kristiansund. Preliminary studies are underway, they are logging wind speed data and sea behavior as a pre-study. It may be feasible as a very large span suspension bridge (circa 2200 meter span).

J N Winkler

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5894
  • Location: Wichita, Kansas/Oxford, Great Britain
  • Last Login: September 25, 2018, 10:37:11 PM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2018, 12:08:22 AM »

Having read through this entire thread just now, I think Chris has the best handle on the reason Norwegian tunnel projects seem to be far cheaper on a per-centerline-length basis than high-profile American tunnel projects.  Geology and lack of nearby urbanization are factors, as are bore diameter (smaller is cheaper) and the ability to amortize equipment costs over multiple contracts (in countries with infrequent tunnel projects, frequently a single contract has to bear the entire cost of the tunnel boring machine).  The general rule of thumb used to be that North American and northern European road tunnels had much more sophisticated incident detection and management than southern European tunnels.  However, since the Mont Blanc and St. Gotthard tunnel fires agencies everywhere have been outfitting their tunnels to a set of standards that reflect international consensus and are based on traditional North American/northern European practice.

I collect plans (or comparable forms of construction documentation) for many US and European highway projects, and the more of each I gather, the less trusting I become of attempts to explain cost disparities that do not compare like to like.  There are differences in ground conditions, labor costs, equipment costs, social charges, regulatory compliance costs, etc. and these all have to be filtered through differences in purchasing power parity.  It is easy to spin a line of BS about how DBE and that old standby, Davis-Bacon, increase costs in the US to an unreasonable level, but this is countered by the empirical rule of thumb that unit prices for comparable bid items tend to be twice as expensive in Europe than in the US, owing partly to differences in purchasing power and also to regulatory compliance costs and social charges that are harder to avoid in most European countries (for example, until Obamacare it was easier for US employers to avoid providing health insurance to employees).

I actually have construction documents for packages E11 and E13 of the Rogfast project, both of which are side tunnels that will be used for ventilation when the total project is finished.  I don't think I have the main packages, however, I suspect because those were tendered as combined services/works contracts and I scrape works contracts only.  I'm working with TED and Doffin to find out.

Edit:  Apparently the packages for the 27-km undersea tunnel are E02, E03, and E04, with prequalification rounds (usually a sign the agency contemplates design-build) being held in 2017.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 12:37:37 AM by J N Winkler »
Logged
"It is necessary to spend a hundred lire now to save a thousand lire later."--Piero Puricelli, explaining the need for a first-class road system to Benito Mussolini

Beltway

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3122
  • Roads to the Future

  • Location: Richmond, VA
  • Last Login: Today at 07:25:38 AM
Re: Norway: Rogfast - 16.5 mile undersea tunnel
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2018, 05:45:41 PM »

A number of interesting points have been made about the seeming low costs for the Norway tunnels and bridges.

My main two thoughts that I have not yet seen mentioned --

The very large number of such projects compared to nearly anywhere else, provides an environment for a very robust national engineering and contracting industry, creates economies of scale in the local engineering and contracting industries, and a very competitive bidding environment, which helps to provide lower bids on projects.  This construction program has been underway from about 20 years ago will go to at least 20 years into the future. 

Most of these bridges and tunnels have 2 lanes, and most tie into relatively low volume existing 2-lane highways thus limiting the costs for upgrading approach highways.  I know that there are some exceptions to this.

Tied to the previous point, Norway's highway needs are heavily focused on providing rural bridge and tunnel connectivity, so their needs for new and expanded land highways are relatively light, and they are not needing to build an extensive network of freeways with 4 or more lanes, nor an extensive network of urban freeways.

The largest cities in Norway , ranked by population
Oslo 580,000
Bergen 213,585
Trondheim 147,139
Stavanger 121,610
Drammen 90,722

National population 5.2 million

I am not trying to minimize the matter of freeways, just saying that Norway has huge highway needs for rural connectivity, and is focusing most of its massive efforts on providing bridges and tunnels across fjords and other estuaries and thru mountains.
Logged
Scott M. Savage
-- Borders, Language and Culture
http://www.roadstothefuture.com
http://www.capital-beltway.com

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.