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15 amazing underwater tunnels

Last updated on: July 14, 2014 13:27 IST

15 amazing underwater tunnels

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In February, China announced on of its most ambitious projects in recent times. The country plans to build a 76-mile (122 kilometres) long underwater tunnel.

This megaproject will connect the northern city of Dalian with Yantai on the east coast.

While experts are studying the feasibility of the project, let’s take a look at some of the ambitious underwater tunnels the world has seen.

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Image: Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

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Seikan Tunnel

Length: 53.9 kms

Country: Japan

Transport: Rail

Seikan is both the longest and the deepest operational rail tunnel in the world and also the longest undersea tunnel.

While the total length of the tunnel is 53.85 kilometres, about 23.3-kilometre portion is under the seabed.

It travels beneath the Tsugaru Strait and connect AomoriPrefecture on HonshuIsland with HokkaidoIsland.

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Image: Seikan Tunnel.
Photographs: Alljal/Wikimedia Commons

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Channel Tunnel

Length: 50.5 kms

Country: UK and France

Transport: Rail

Channel Tunnel is considered to the best underwater tunnel in the world. Every country which wants to build an undersea tunnel, looks at the engineering of Channel Tunnel.

This tunnel links Folkestone, Kent, in the United Kingdom, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, in France.

At 37.9 kilometres (23.5 mi), the tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world, although the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres (33.46 mi) and deeper at 240 metres (790 ft) below sea level, according to Wikipedia.

The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger as well as freight trains. It was opened in 1994.

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Image: Channel Tunnel.
Photographs: Holger Weinandt/Wikimedia Commons

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Length: 23 miles (about 37 kms)

Country: US

Transport: Road

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel connects the Delmarva Peninsula's Eastern Shore of the state of Virginia with Virginia Beach and the metropolitan area of Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Since it opened, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel has been crossed by more than 100 million vehicles, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Photographs: Jim Powers/Wikimedia Commons

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Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line

Length: 9.6 km

Country: Japan

Transport: Road

The Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line is also called as the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway. It connects the city of Kawasaki in KanagawaPrefecture with the city of Kisarazu in ChibaPrefecture, according to Wikipedia.

With an overall length of 14 km, it includes a 4.4 km bridge and 9.6 km tunnel underneath the bay - the fourth-longest underwater tunnel in the world.

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Image: Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line.
Photographs: Courtesy, Yokogawa Bridge Corp

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Busan-Geoje Fixed Link

Length: 8.2 kms

Country: South Korea

Transport: Road

The tunnel is part of 8.2 kilometres link between GeojeIsland and Busan. It comprises of a tunnel and two bridges. The tunnel is 4km long.

This link shortens the travelling distance between GeojeIsland and Busan by about 60 kilometres or about 40 minutes.

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Image: Busan-Geoje Fixed Link.
Photographs: Asfreeas/Wikimedia Commons

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Bomlafjord Tunnel

Length: 7.8 km

Country: Norway

Transport: Road

The tunnel connects the island of Foyno in Stord to the mainland at Dalshovda in Sveio.

The 7.8 kilometres long tunnel reaches 260.4 m (854 ft) below mean sea level, according to Wikipedia.

Plans for the tunnel arose in the 1980s; construction started in 1997 and the tunnel opened in December 2000.

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Image: Bomlafjord Tunnel.
Photographs: Jarvin/Wikimedia Commons

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Eiksund Tunnel

Length: 7.7 km

Country: Norway

Transport: Road

The Eiksund tunnel runs under the Vartdalsfjorden connecting OrstaMunicipality and UlsteinMunicipality.

The tunnel was built as part of a large project including 3 tunnels and a bridge connecting several islands to the mainland.

The tunnel carries three lanes of traffic. The average daily traffic through the Eiksund Tunnel is around 1,000 vehicles, 50 percent of which are trucks, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Eiksund Tunnel.
Photographs: T. Muller/Wikimedia Commons

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North Cape Tunnel

Length: 6.8 km

Country: Norway

Transport: Road

The tunnel connects the Norwegian mainland to the large island of Mageroya. The tunnel was built between 1993 and 1999.

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Image: North Cape Tunnel.
Photographs: Julo/Wikimedia Commons

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Transbay Tube

Length: 5.8 kms

Country: US

Transport: Rail

The Transbay Tube carries four transbay lines under San FranciscoBay between the cities of San Francisco and Oakland in California.

The tunnel has a maximum depth of 135 feet (41 m) below sea level.

The tube was constructed on land, transported to the site, then submerged and fastened to the bottom (mostly by packing the sides with sand and gravel), according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Transbay Tube.
Photographs: Eric Fischer/Wikimedia Commons

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Severn Tunnel

Length: 3.62 kms

Country: UK

Transport: Railway

The tunnel links South Gloucestershire in the west of England to Monmouthshire in south Wales under the estuary of the River Severn.

This a one of the oldest underwater tunnels in the world built between 1873 and 1886.

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Image: Severn Tunnel.
Photographs: Brett Palfrey/Wikimedia Commons

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New Elbe Tunnel

Length: 3.1 kms

Country: Germany

Transport: Road

This tunnel runs under the Elbe river between Schleswig-Holstein (and on towards Denmark) to the north and Lower Saxony to the south.

When opened, the tunnel had only three bores and to meet the demands of increasing traffic, in 2002 a fourth bore was opened with two more lanes.

The work for this tunnel was tune by the world’s largest tunnel boring machine then.

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Image: New Elbe Tunnel.
Photographs: Malene Thyssen/Wikimedia Commons

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Vardo Tunnel

Length: 2.9 kms

Country: Norway

Transport: Road

This two lane tunnel connects the island of Vardoya to the village of Svartnes on the VarangerPeninsula on the mainland.

The tunnel, opened in 1982, reaches a depth of 88 metres below sea level.

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Image: Vardo Tunnel.
Photographs: Fanny Schertzer/Reuters

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Sydney Harbour Tunnel

Length: 2.8 kms

County: Australia

Transport: Road

This tunnel was built to de-congest Sydney Harbour Bridge. The tunnel joins the Warringah Freeway at North Sydney, and the Cahill Expressway at the entrance to the Domain Tunnel.

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Image: Sydney Harbour Tunnel.
Photographs: OSX/Wikimedia Commons

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Cross Harbour Tunnel

Length: 1.8 kms

Country: Hong Kong

Transport: Road

Opened in 1972, Cross Harbour Tunnel provides the first road link between Kowloon and Hong KongIsland. Before this tunnel, cross-harbour vehicular traffic depended on ferries.

The tunnel links the main financial and commercial districts on both sides of Victoria Harbour, connecting Kellett Island (a former island now connected to Hong Kong Island by reclamation), with a reclaimed site at Hung Hom Bay, Kowloon, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Cross Harbour Tunnel.
Photographs: Mike Peel/Wikimedia Commons

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Thames Tunnel

Length: 0.4 kms

Country: UK

Transport: Rail

This is the first tunnel known to have constructed successfully underwater. Thames Tunnel was built between 1825 and 1843. It was originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, but was never used for this purpose.

It measures 35 feet wide by 20 feet high and is 1,300 feet long, running at a depth of 75 feet below the river surface measured at high tide, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Thames Tunnel.
Photographs: Lars Plougmann/Wikimedia Common
Tags: Wikipedia , UK

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Marmaray

Length: 13.6 kms

Country: Turkey

Transport: Rail

Marmaray is a rail transport project in Istanbul. The project includes a 13.6-kilometre Bosphorus crossing, the upgrade of 63 kilometres of suburban train lines to create a 76.3-kilometre high-capacity line between Gebze and Halkalı.

The Bosphorus crossing have a 1.4-kilometre-long undersea tunnel, which is constructed by immersing earthquake-proof tubes in the water. It represents the world's deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel.

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Image: Marmaray Tunnel.
Photographs: Muhammed Enes Okullu/Wikimedia Commons

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George Massey Tunnel

Length: The 629 metres

Country: Canada

Transport: Road

The George Massey Tunnel is a highway traffic tunnel in the Metro Vancouver region. It is one of the oldest underwater tunnels that opened in 1959.

It carries a four lane divided highway under the south arm of the Fraser River estuary, joining the City of Richmond to the north with the Corporation of Delta (a municipality) to the south, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: George Massey Tunnel
Photographs: Harrysaxon/Wikimedia Commons

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Eurasia Tunnel

Length: 14.6-km

Country: Turkey

Transport: Road

The Eurasia Tunnel is a proposed project between Kazlicesme and Goztepe regions of Istanbul. It is a 14.6-km route including a 5.4-km twin-deck road tunnel that will cross the Bosphorus beneath the seabed, with the aim to alleviate Istanbul’s traffic pressure, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Eurasia Tunnel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Google Maps

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Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel

Length: NA

Country: Finland and Estonia

Transport: Road

The Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel is a proposed undersea tunnel that would span the Gulf of Finland and connect the Finnish and Estonian capitals while bypassing Russia, according to Wikipedia.

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Image: Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel.
Photographs: inistry of Transport and Communication of the Republic of Latvia/Wikimedia Commons

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Aktio–Preveza Undersea Tunnel

Length: NA

Country: Greece

Transport: Road

The Aktio–Preveza Undersea Tunnel links Epirus and the city of Preveza. Completed in 2002, the tunnel is an important piece of infrastructure in a previously underdeveloped region.


Image: Aktio-Preveza Undersea Tunnel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Google Maps

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