Tunnel construction has fascinated mankind since the beginning of civilization. Ancient people were in the practice of building tunnels in order to access burial chambers and underground mines. History has also witnessed the construction of tunnels on hill slopes to control water flow from permeable rocks. Romans were especially skilled in the art of tunnel building, and appointed slaves to make long tunnels.
In the modern times, you will find tunnels to be a bit unique, given the fact that there are multifarious transportation means. Nowadays, there are tunnels which are meant just for trains, some serve as passageway for cars while some others provide both facilities. Take a tour of some of the amazing road tunnels in the world. Here we go!
- Tokyo Bay Aqua Line in Japan: Formerly a toll road, Tokyo Bay Aqua Line now offers motor vehicles a thrilling underwater descent across 10 kilometers. It is in fact a marine crossing connecting the cities of Kanagawa and Kisarazu. The tunnel has the largest diameter in the world which strikingly makes room for two streaks of traffic in either direction. The noteworthy construction technique makes the tunnel totally impermeable to seawater.
- Big Dig in Boston: The Big Dig is an impressive construction achieved by routing Boston’s largest roads through an underground tunnel. This is in the most expensive venture in the USA. The aim of the project was to mitigate the traffic overcrowding in the tangled Boston roads. Through the tunnel, a considerable reduction in traffic jamming was achieved.
- Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado: An amazing creation in length as well as elevation, the Eisenhower Tunnel offers a very thrilling ride simply due to the fact that it partitions the Continental Divide. So, the two extremes of the tunnel can have totally diverse climatic conditions. If you are riding in on a pleasant day, be prepared to face a blizzard when you drive out.
- SMART Tunnel in Kuala Lumpur: SMART stands for Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel. This is not a usual tunnel. To ensure safety of vehicles during monsoons, the tunnel incorporates certain unique features like, automated water tight gates, ventilation shafts, emergency equipments, audio broadcasting facilities, air monitoring system, cross passages from deck to deck and fire engines.
- Spiralen Tunnel in Norway: The Spiralen Tunnel, set within a mountain offers you the opportunity to drive in towards the top rising from a height of 50 feet to al altitude 2600 feet over sea level journeying around six different loops. So, driving can be of immense fun and thrill out here!
- Elbe Tunnel in Hamburg: The Elbe Tunnel is a unique elevator tunnel constructed in 1911. Strikingly, the same elevators are in use till today. There is a lot of art work to see as the tunnel walls are embellished with terra cotta decorations depicting different aspects of River Elbe. A running event is often organized within the tunnel.
- Zhongnanshan Tunnel in China: With a length of around 11 miles, the Zhongnanshan Tunnel is the world’s second largest road tunnel in length. Moreover, it scores first in length among the world’s two tube tunnels. Spectacularly built on a national highway connecting northern and southern parts of China, this tunnel is a masterpiece of Chinese craftsmanship.
- Laerdal Tunnel in Norway: With an amazing length exceeding 15 miles, Laerdal Tunnel is the longest roadway tunnel on earth. The diverse lightings within the tunnel are a beauty with a purpose. The usual path includes basic white lights while the cave portions consist of yellow and blue lights so that drivers don’t fall asleep.
Each road tunnel is unique in its own way. These wondrous masterpieces are a bold testimony to the beautiful conspiracy of the human mind with nature.