I have a confession to make: I’ve been to the underworld. No, not the mythical one with a three-headed dog and a guy who needs to moisturize, but Norway’s underground road network. Yep, that’s right, folks, the Norwegians have figured out how to build roads inside mountains. And let me tell you, as a motorcyclist, it’s an experience that’s equal parts thrilling, bewildering, and downright hilarious.
Why does Norway have underground roads?
Norway’s unique geography, dominated by fjords and mountains, poses a significant challenge for road construction. Traditional roads would have to wind around these natural obstacles, making journeys longer and more complex.
Enter the solution: an extensive network of tunnels and underground roads that cut straight through the heart of the landscape. The end result is a series of networks and underground roads. The country boasts over 1490 road tunnels, including 33 undersea ones, to provide more direct, efficient routes between different areas.
What is the longest tunnel in Norway?
The longest among these underground roads is the Lærdal Tunnel, a marvel of engineering that stretches 24.51 kilometres long, connecting the municipalities of Lærdal and Aurland in Vestland county. But these aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill tunnels. They’re so large that they can accommodate full-size underground roundabouts! This ingenious design allows for smoother traffic flow and safer navigation.
Motorbiking through the tunnels
First, this might not be your trip if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of trolls. These tunnels are long, dark, and have a decidedly ‘underworld’ vibe. But fear not! Being the practical modern-day Vikings, the Norwegians have installed mood lighting. Mood lighting in a tunnel.
And then there’s the roundabouts. Yes, you read that correctly. Roundabouts in an underground road! The Norwegians didn’t just stop at putting roads inside mountains; they put roundabouts there, too. Imagine riding along, minding your own business, when suddenly you’re faced with a subterranean traffic circle. It’s like stumbling upon a secret society of moles who’ve developed advanced traffic management systems.
The Laerdal Tunnel
But the real gem of Norway’s underground road network? The Laerdal Tunnel is also known as the longest road tunnel in the world. At 24.5 kilometres, it’s like the Energizer Bunny of tunnels – it just keeps going and going. There are even rest areas inside the tunnel where you can stop and ponder your life choices. Who knew a tunnel could give you an existential crisis?
You might be thinking, “Surely, you must get bored riding for that long in a tunnel?” And you’d be right if it weren’t for the light show. Every 6 kilometres, the tunnel opens into a cavern with blue and white lights that mimic a sunrise. I’m not kidding. It’s like Mother Nature; a Vegas casino had a love child.
So there you have it, folks. A motorbike journey through Norway’s underground road network is an odyssey. It’s a trip that will test your sanity, tickle your funny bone, and make you question why we ever bothered with roads on the surface. But one thing’s sure: it’s an adventure you won’t forget anytime soon.
Whether you’re a seasoned biker looking for a new challenge or a curious traveller with a penchant for the unusual, strap on your helmet, rev up that engine, and dive deep into the heart of Norway’s mountains. Just remember to keep an eye out for those roundabouts!