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Bergen To Get World’s Longest Cycle Tunnel

Cyclist in Bergen tunnel

More than 100 cameras will be used to prevent crime in the world's longest cycle and pedestrian tunnel set to open in Bergen in 2023.

Blasting work has started on building the longest bicycle and pedestrian tunnel in the world. The 2.9km cycle and pedestrian tunnel through the Løvstakken mountain will run parallel to the new light rail line linking Fyllingsdalen with Bergen city centre.

Upgrading an escape tunnel

In fact, it's actually the escape tunnel for the new light rail that will serve dual purpose as the new cycle/pedestrian tunnel. It will cost an additional NOK 500 million to upgrade the tunnel from an emergency service to one that can be used daily. The current coalition government has confirmed the state will pick up half the tab for the tunnel.

Read more: Public transport in Bergen

Today cyclists must travel from Fyllingdalen via Melkeplassen or Bønes to Bergen city center. The tunnel will shorten the cycling distance to central Bergen by about 5.5km, saving around 20 minutes.

Kristianborg entrance to the Bybanen tunnel in Bergen
Photo: Skisse Bybanen utbygging

Psychologists an important part of the project

There aren't just civil engineers and finance people working on this project. “Finding good and safe solutions has been a huge challenge. To feel that one is safe in a 3km-long tunnel is about more than whether the facility itself is safe,” said Ole Wilhelm Mortensen from Bybanen Utbygging.

To help with this, an architectural psychologist played an important role in the planning stage. He considered what measures can give the tunnel users the best possible experience inside the mountain. Cyclists will spend approximately nine minutes inside the tunnel, but for pedestrians that rises to around 40 minutes.

As a result, two “rooms” will be excavated to provide natural breaks, similar to what can be found in the Lærdal road tunnel.

Safety first

In addition, the project team discussed at length measures to reduce the risk of crime in the tunnel.

The revised station at Kronstad
The two lines will intersect at Kronstad. Photo: Bybanen utbygging

Bybanen Utbygging plans to place around 100 surveillance cameras in the tunnel, placed at regular intervals. There will also be SOS phones in place. “It is essential to create a design that reduces the likelihood of such things taking place. It's alsso important to have surveillance so that if anything does happen, it will be filmed and documented,” said Mortensen.

It has not yet been decided whether the tunnel will be open at night, during the hours that the light rail does not operate.

Bergen's light rail extension

Bergen's light rail system opened in 2010 and currently consists of just one line. The original route between the city centre and Lagunen has been extended twice. A short extension to Nesttun opened in 2013, while the line has served Bergen airport since 2017. The expansion underway is one of several that have been talked about in recent years.

The new line will run southwards from the city centre, east of the current line. It will serve Haukeland University Hospital, which is the biggest employer in western Norway, before intersecting with the original line at Kronstad and continuing through the new tunnel to Fyllingsdalen. The terminus will be at the Oasen shopping centre.

Bergen's light rail system now serves the airport.
Bergen's light rail

In total, the stretch is about 9km long, of which 4km will be in tunnels. Total travel time along the new line will be approximately 18 minutes. The total construction budget is set at NOK 7.1 billion, of which just over one billion is for the Løvstakken tunnels project.

The work on the two tunnels between Oasen and Kristianborg will run in parallel. Both the light rail tunnel and the combined walkway / bicycle tunnel are due to be completed in early 2023.

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

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