An undersea tunnel and roundabout between towns in the Faroe Islands, set to open later this month, will reduce a 64-minute trip to just 16 minutes — and will look utterly beautiful while doing it.
The Eysturoy tunnel connects Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, a territory of Denmark in the North Atlantic, to the villages of Strendur and Saltnes to the north. The tunnel network is 11.24 kilometers long, or about 6.8 miles, and the public is expected to begin using the tunnel starting December 19.
Until now, the route from the capital to those northern points stretched 55 kilometers. When the tunnel opens, the trip will be just 17 kilometers.
Work on the tunnel began in early 2017 from opposite points of the network. The three paths converged in June 2019. The deepest point of the tunnel is 613 feet below sea level, but the gradient is never steeper than 5 percent.
A new infrastructure project that shortens a long commute to a third of its former length is sure to be a hit, but the Eysturoy tunnel also earns points for looking magnificent inside. The patina of the tunnel’s walls, and the way it’s lighted, almost suggests that you’re driving beneath layers of ice and water. The light display and sculptures in the roundabout portion were designed by Faroese artist Trondur Patursson, according to the BBC.
Another undersea tunnel project linking the Faroe Islands, called the Sandoy tunnel, will connect the towns of Sandur and Skopun. However, that one isn’t projected to be complete until 2023.
The Eysturoy tunnel cost an estimated 1.4 billion Danish kroner to build, which translates to about $160 million. It’s estimated to handle 6,000 vehicles daily. Just over 52,000 people live on the Faroe Islands, and the company responsible for building both tunnels explained the importance of the new tunnel for the population on its website:
The tunnels will shorten the daily routes for several thousand people by up to an hour and a half and thereby strengthen private durability, commercial competition and national economy as a whole.
Half of all inhabitants of the Faroe Islands will live in an area where driving distance is insignificant and services will become available where previously the population foundation was too low.
Unfortunately, traveling the Eysturoy tunnel won’t be cheap. Motorists will pay 75 Danish kroner in one direction, or about $12, though that’s only if they sign up for a yearly subscription costing about $46. The toll will be even more expensive for those who don’t pay the optional annual fee, Local.fo reported. Such is the price of an easier and more beautiful commute.