Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tunnel masters

Norwegians are real tunnel masters. In our travel from Oslo to Bømlo, we passed through a number of them, some short, others quite long. Some shorten travel through the mountains, others pass under fjords. On an earlier trip we went through a 25 km tunnel east of Bergen.

One of the most interesting was Bømlafjordtunnellen connecting the island municipality of Bømlo with the mainland. It is 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long and over 850 feet deep. There are three lanes allowing passing on the uphill climbs. It is well ventilated and well lit, with numerous safety areas.

The tunnels were paid by the nation's new oil money, and are now paid down by tolls our friends here report. We paid 85 NOK (about $14 USD) at a toll plaza.

Two large suspension bridges connect the rest of the major island groups. At the tops of the uprights are huge Viking helmets. The effectd is visually stunning.

We head south today, and I'm sure we'll pass through even more of these tunnels.

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