#Connectivity is important for the Faroe Islands. To be able to drive from one town to another helps the important salmon-fishery-industry, local businesses, commuters and tourists alike. #Infrastructure in the Faroe Islands is very advanced and almost all inhabited islands are connected by both roads and telecommunication.
What about aspects of #Geology? Or #Water as part of it – the Faroe Islands are now looking into making use of the obvious availability of fresh water tanks beyond the sea… In fact the tunnel construction projects of the Faroe Islands touch all of it.
When building the new Eysturoy tunnel, fresh water was discovered seeping through the walls. The Eysturoy sub-sea tunnel connects Skálafjørður and Tórshavn and will be a full 11 kilometers long. It is planned to open operations early in 2021.
To discover fresh water at the subsoil of the ocean in a depth of 187 meters below the water’s surface (=the lowest point of the tunnel) is quite something. To make optimum use from this precious resource is now the aim of local political and societal discussion. The geological survey Jardfeingi is in charge of working on the subject, as well as on testing the underground in other boreholes, that have been made to use the thermal heat of the water underneath for heating houses or drilling in search of oil.
So far, there was no drilling for water specifically, but now the first such drilling is made by Hiddenfjords salmon company, to check if they find water on the island of Vágar, which can be used for their smolt farms (raising the young salmon). But that is yet another subject…. Let us stick to the tunnels here:
In the older days ferries and boats were the only means of transportation to move between the 18 islands of the Faroe archipelago. Travel picked up in speed and ease when the first bridge was opened in 1973 to connect the two most populous islands: Streymoy, where Tórshavn (the capital) is located, and Eysturoy. A next big step to improve travel times came in 2003, with the opening of the nation’s first sub sea tunnel which connects Streymoy to Vágar, the island where the international airport is located.
Up to 2002 all travel from Vágar airport to the other islands required a ferry – so the opening of the Vágatunnilin (the Vágar tunnel) meant a huge step into developing tourism and businesses. Now, when you drive from Vágar to the capital Torshavn, it takes only about 1 hour and you can already experience one of the specialities of the Faroe Islands – a frequent change of weather, even on 2 different islands close by each other. You can leave Vágar in the snow and arrive in Streymoy in a dry weather and heavy winds. The Vágar tunnel is 4.940 m long and about 105 meters below sea level at the deepest point.
Today, the Faroe Islands’ 18 onshore and two sub sea tunnels run for a total of 44 kilometers through mountains and under fjords. Journeys across the islands that used to take an entire day have been reduced to an hour, and 87 percent of the population is now connected 24/7.
The next steps will further close the last missing gaps in connectivity – with the two new sub sea tunnels currently under construction (parallel! In a society of only 53.000 population!) and on top of it one of them even includes the first roundabout under the Atlantic.
It was in 2014, that the Faroese Parliament unanimously decided to build these additional two sub sea tunnels from the main island of Streymoy. One will shorten the drive to the island to Eysturoy, an island to the north, while the other will connect to Sandoy, an island to the south currently only accessible by car ferry.
“The Eysturoy tunnel connects Skálafjørður and Tórshavn with a sub sea tunnel, which will be a full 11 kilometres long.
The tunnel will shorten the travel distance from Tórshavn to Runavík/Strendur from 55 kilometres to 17 kilometres. The 64 minute drive will be shortened to 16 minutes. The drive from Tórshavn to Klaksvík will be shortened from 68 minutes to 36 minutes. It will be a great gain for all commuters presently having to drive the long ways around the fjord.
The tunnel will connect both sides of the bay of Skálafjørður using two tunnels that connect to a roundabout under the seabed at mid-bay. In order to increase safety, no inclination in the tunnel is steeper than 5 per cent and the lowest point is 187 metres below the water’s surface.”
(info taken from the website of the tunnel building company https://www.estunlar.fo/en/about-the-tunnels/the-eysturoy-tunnel/ )
The tunnel is expected to open early 2021
“The second project, the Sandoy tunnel connects the island of Sandoy to the greater part of Faroese infrastructure.
This tunnel will be 10.8 kilometres long. The lowest point is 157 metres below the water surface and just like the Eysturoy tunnel, the steepest inclination will be 5 percent. The project is constructed parallel to the building of the Eysturoy tunnel.”
Only the sky seems to be the limit for the decision makers in the Faroe Islands! According to the publicly owned company Eystur- & Sandoyartunlar, it is the
“biggest infrastructure expansion on the Faroe Islands ever.”
CEO Teitur Samuelsen is one of the Visit Faroe Islands Meetings “ambassadors” and has been engaged in bringing meetings around the subject and arranged site visits for specialist in the tunnel industry such as geologist, engineers etc.
More about knowledge clusters on the LinkedIn company profile of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings and on www.tmf-dialogue.net