LANDSCAPE _ Snøhetta has started a research project investigating a new way of approaching fjord crossings. With floating bridges on each of the landsides and a submerged tunnel in the middle of the fjord, The Artificial Seabed aims is to create a fjord crossing that does not interrupt the traffic of big ships passing.
Ship barriers surrounding the tunnel entrances on both sides protects the tunnel if ships where to sail out of their given routes. However, the barriers also allow audience, pedestrians, and bikers to walk on top and experience both the construction and the scenery.
The technical solution for the bridge investigates use of technology that derives from offshore gas and oil industry.
Anchoring to depths higher than 500 meters can be both difficult and expensive, which is why this project introduces an artificial seabed at the depth of 30 meters. The artificial seabed is anchored on each landside, and attached to the seabed, pontoons carries the floating bridge and the tunnel.
The project is a result of collaboration between Reinertsen, Dr. Techn. Olav Olsen, and Snøhetta. It is an ongoing project, now also involving Sapa, Hydro, Deep Ocean Group, and SINTEF.
The question is, will this project become anyway feasible?
Looking at Rovdefjordbrua fjord crossing project in the south of Ålesund the answer seems yes.
In fact the project consist of a floating bridge and a 230 meter long submerged tunnel making possible for travelers to cross the fjord without interrupting vessel traffic. As a part of the Norwegian Public Road Administration’s project to have a ferry-free route E39, this project aims to replace the existing ferry traffic, and will thereby be a step towards making it possible to go by car all the way along the long, Norwegian coastline.
On the one hand, the project aims to investigate new bridge technology. The project in Rovdefjorden could be the world’s first submerged floating tunnel with water on all sides, and it is therefore an important pilot project for fjord crossings.
On the other hand, there is a strong focus on the functionality of the project. It has been crucial to make a safe and enjoyable experience for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians crossing the fjord. The design introduces a pedestrian path on the bridge that follows the curve of the tunnel and swirls up onto its construction around the island. This gives people passing by the opportunity to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the fjord.
The imperative concern of this first proposal is the sustainable impact of this huge infrastructure into the fjord ecosystem, that apparently has not been totally dealt yet.
According with Snohetta studio, there will be a comprehensive environmental impact assessment before the municipal master plan is adopted and a potential zoning plan can start.