The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

Why go over mountains and rivers when you can just go under them? These are the works of infrastructure Jalopnik readers identified as the most stunning and stubborn works of roadway engineering the world over.

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There's something intrinsically awesome about tunnels in their stubborn approach to engineering. If there's a mountain in the way, just blow your way straight through it! Or maybe they just acknowledge our inner Lord of the Rings-style dwarves.

The best tunnels, though, have an elegance to them that should be recognized.

Of course, the one thing we aren't showing you is exactly what it feels like to drive through these tunnels. Post your favorite videos of taking these underground passages in Kinja below.

Photo Credit: Trey Ratcliff


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

10.) Tokyo Bay Aqua Line

Tokyo's super long descent-under-the water tunnel was previously a toll road. That meant that street racers used to take their cars up to top speed runs in the 10km-long stretch. Now that there's a toll, traffic has picked up and you get less hooliganism, but the engineering remains impressive.

Suggested By: TokyoBayAquaLine, Photo Credit: Paul Davidson


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

9.) Big Dig, Boston

They took the city's biggest exposed roads and sunk them underground. Sure it was a massively over budget managerial nightmare, but the finished product is pretty impressive.

Suggested By: StalePhish, Photo Credit: David Salafia


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

8.) Eisenhower Tunnel, Colorado

The Eisenhower Tunnel is impressive in its length and in its elevation, but there's one feature we love more than any other. Since it splits the Continental Divide, there can be completely different weather on the opposite side of the tunnel. You can drive in on a nice day and drive out into a blizzard.

Suggested By: PyroHoltz, Photo Credit: Patrick Pelster


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

7.) SMART Tunnel, Kuala Lumpur

That's ‘Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel.' Kuala Lumpur's massive tunnel doubles as a gigantic storm drain during monsoon season.

Suggested By: WeeBoon Tan, Photo Credit: Emran Kassim


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

6.) Spiralen Tunnel, Drammen Norway

In this tunnel up the inside of a mountain in Norway, you actually drive upwards in from 50 feet to 2600 feet above sea-level in six loops.

Suggested By: cdouglas, Photo Credit: Peter Fiskerstrand


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

5.) 1911 Elbe Tunnel, Hamburg

This is an elevator tunnel, and the original elevators (pictured above) are still in use over 100 years later. It's a time travel device back to some kind of paleofuturistic past.

Suggested By: Tyred_Cyclist, Photo Credit: Kay Baumgartel


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

4.) Chip Ganassi's Secret Wind Tunnel, Pennsylvania

In 2003 and 2004, hikers in Pennsylvania began to find discarded racing fuel drums near an abandoned PA Turnpike tunnel, and they'd hear the sound of loud V8 engines. Turns out Chip Ganassi Racing had turned it into a giant, full-size wind tunnel. This is about the coolest secret racecar engineering feat we can imagine.

Suggested By: tromoly, Photo Credit: TheCJCrew


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

3.) Guoliang Tunnel, China

You've seen it in those new Cadiallac ATS ads. This thing was carved out by hand. Unbelievable.

Suggested By: gla2yyz, Photo Credit: Zach Ho


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

2.) Zhongnanshan Tunnel, China

This list wouldn't be complete without some Chinese mega-engineering, now would it? At 11.21 miles, this is the second-longest road tunnel in the world and the longest two-tube tunnel in the world.

Suggested By: Dr_Watson, Photo Credit: Ceresit


The World’s Most Impressive Tunnels

1.) Lærdal Tunnel, Norway

And here's the longest road tunnel in the world. That's 15.23 miles underground. What's with the crazy colors? In the regular sections, the tunnel has plain white lights, but in the caves there are blue and yellow lights to keep people from falling asleep and crashing into the walls and dying.

Humans are not designed for this kind of travel, so we have to be tricked. Good thing we can always trust engineers.

Suggested By: Superkiwizorro, Photo Credit: Torw