May 3, 2017
At 3:30 p.m., a pivotal moment in the construction of the Mӕlefjell Tunnel between the municipalities of Seljord and Hjartdal in southeastern Norway took place when both halves of the structure were joined together. This breakthrough occurred four years after the construction company NCC had begun building the road tunnel.
“I’ve been looking forward to this,” said Halfdan Haugan, mayor of Seljord, shortly before the breakthrough, “it’s a milestone in the project.” After both halves were joined together, individuals from NCC as well as the Norwegian Public Roads Administration climbed onto broken-apart rocks at the site of the breakthrough and cheered.
Thorfinn Haugo, NCC’s manager for the Mӕlefjell Tunnel construction project, emphasized that building the structure up to that time had been anything but easy. He noted, “There have been a lot of challenges on this project with unforeseen water problems, primarily large amounts of water and very high pressure.” Haugo added, however, “Now we can put a period for that chapter and continue to build roads inside the tunnel.”
Work on the Mӕlefjell Tunnel was completed in 2019. Measuring 5.8 miles (9.4 kilometers) in length, it is the seventh longest road tunnel in Norway. This tunnel is a part of European route E134, which crosses Norway from the municipality of Frogn in the southeastern region to Haugesund Airport on the western coast. The Mӕlefjell Tunnel has reduced the travel time on that 293-mile (472-kilometer) highway by at least 18 minutes.
Photo Credit: Peter Fiskerstrand (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International — CC BY-SA 4.0)
For more information on the Mӕlefjell Tunnel, please check out Mælefjell Tunnel – Wikipedia