Accordingly, the Stad Ship Tunnel will receive 1.5 billion NOK ($180mln) in the first period (2018-2023), to be followed by 1.2 billion NOK ($140mln) in the second period (2024-2029), which means that the project, which has been listed as one of the nation's priorities since 2013, is now fully funded.
Conservative politician Bjørn Lødemel called the day "historic."
"It provides a safe journey around Stad, laying the foundation for the region's industrial development and establishment as a world-class tourist destination. It will also facilitate the shifting of more transport from road to sea," Bjørn Lødemel said, as quoted by NRK.
Whereas using the tunnel admittedly won't save much time, it will most certainly be worth the effort anyway. The mountainous Stad Peninsula on Norway's western coast is infamous for its heavy weather, which endangers maritime traffic. The area commonly records Norway's harshest wind, which leads to delays and shipwrecks when conditions are stormy. A recent review found 46 accidents and near-accidents and 33 deaths had occurred in the waters surrounding the Stad Peninsula since the end of World War II.
The Stad Ship Tunnel is a national project that is expected to reduce the risk of maritime accidents and facilitate the shipment of goods. Norwegian transport officials are also hopeful that the tunnel will reduce the fishing industry's losses and breathe a new life into the coastal business community. With a ship tunnel through the Stad Peninsula, a new express route between Bergen and Ålesund will be established, which will contribute to the region's housing and labor market.
The first tunnel proposal was presented in 1874, but was put on the back burner for over a century. Another historic option considered by Norwegian engineers was a railway tunnel across the Stad Peninsula, which would have allowed the boats to be raised onto wagons and hauled across.
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