WORLD’S FIRST UNDER SEA ROUNDABOUT
THE NEW GIANT UNDERWATER “JELLYFISH” ROUNDABOUT HAS BECOME THE LATEST FAROE ISLANDS TOURIST ATTRACTION
This is no ordinary roundabout. It is part of a marvel of engineering containing the world’s first undersea roundabout, with an illuminated, sea blue central pillar decorated by Faroese artist Tróndur Patursson.
Already a hit on social-media, the colorful tunnel network linking the two largest islands in the Faroe Islands has become a big draw for foreign visitors.
The 11.2 km (6.9 miles) long subsea tunnel network links the cosmopolitan capital of Torshavn with the second most populous island and has cut down traveling time between these two places from more than one hour driving time along the islands mountainous roads to only 15 minutes via the new subsea tunnel.
The subsea tunnel network named Eysturoyartunnil opened on 19 December 2020, after only 4 years of construction, and is expected to transform the Faroese society, connect people, regions, and economies in new ways.
In the heart of this, 72 meters below the surface, is the worlds first under water roundabout.
In the centre of this roundabout is a giant central pillar of natural rock, left behind during the blasting constructions. This giant pillar is now illuminated and decorated by a prominent Faroese artist, Tróndur Patursson. Around the pillar is an 80-metre steel sculpture represents figures in full size holding hands around the roundabout. They stare inwards at the light like worshippers around a volcanic fire. “The figures are walking from darkness into the light,” says Patursson, “And they symbolise the very Faroese idea that by joining hands and working together we achieve great things”, the Faroese artist said to the Guardian
This giant pillar in the center of the roundabout is illuminated and decorated with an 80-metre steel sculpture represents figures in full size holding hands around the roundabout.ese artist, Tróndur Patursson. Photo by Ólavur Frederiksen
77 year old Tróndur Patursson, the Faroese artist behind the tunnel decorations, here photographed with Teitur Samuelsen, CEO of Eysturoyar tunnel holding the photo lamps. Photo by Bardur Eklund
Is it a underwater roundabout, jellyfish or a alien UFO spaceship? Photo by Bardur Eklund
When motorists enter the tunnel, they experience a stylish entrance with harmonious arches and are later met by the roundabout, which is bathed in light so that it appears as a modern art installation. Photo by Olavur Frederiksen
The 11.2 Km long subsea tunnel is the second longest in the world. Photo by Ólavur Frederiksen
The entrance to the tunnel at the Runavík side. Photo by Ólavur Frederiksen
The new subsea tunnel also connects the two sides of the Skálafjørð bay area and cuts down the driving distance from 25 km to 5 km. Photo by Ólavur Frederiksen
The singled tube two-laned undersea tunnel, which takes around 8 minutes to drive through, is 189 meters (620 ft) below the water´s surface at the lowest point, and has three tubes which meet at the colourful roundabout.
One of the tubes connects with Tórshavn, the capital, on the island of Streymoy- to the left on the picture above. The other two tubes connect with the two bay areas of Skálafjørður fjord on the island of Eysturoy, on the right on the picture, helping to cut down travel distance between these two bay areas from 25 km down to just 5 km.
Additionally the tunnel helps shortening the driving time between the Faroe Islands´ two largest cities, Tórshavn and Klaksvik, will half. From 70 minutes to around 35 minutes.
Under the road, an advanced rain and wastewater system of pumps and kilometres of pipes ensures that rain and surface water are kept away from technical installations and the carriageway, so that road users can safely and safely enjoy the tunnel’s harmonious expression.
While the road users’ gaze at the beautiful tunnel decorations, gravity ensures that the water is led away from the cars and the carriageway via gratings and pipes and down to the lowest point in the tunnel, where large 16 bar pumps send the water back to the surface and out into Skálafjørður fjord.
The driving experience through Eysturoyartunnil, the second longest car traffic subsea tunnel in the world, can be enriched even more by tuning in on FM radio 97.00 while driving through the colourful tunnel.
On that channel you can listen to the Faroese musician and sound-engineers special tunes composed for your ride under the seabed.
At FM radio 97.00 you can listen to special music tunes composed by Faroese Jens L. Thomsen, while driving through the Eysturoyar tunnel. Photo taken at the entrance of the tunnel by Bardur Eklund
The whole Eysturoyar tunnel project was constructed by the Faroese public limited company Eystur- og Sandoyartunlar and was the largest single investment ever made in the Faroe Islands, totalling at around 260m Euros.
Driving through Eysturoyartunnil costs a toll fee of 75 Danish krona (around 10 Euros) each way and is billed automatically as a camera scans your license plate. Without a yearly subscription the toll fee is though 175 Dkk (24 Euro) each way.
The income from this new tunnel is expected to fund the next tunnel projects on the Faroe Islands.
Construction workers celebrating the breakthrough in the Eysturoy Tunnel on 7 June, 2019. Photo by Photo by Ólavur Frederiksen.
Crazy about tunnels
Faroese build tunnels like no other. We love them. The 18 islands making out the Faroe Islands has 53,000 inhabitants and now 20 tunnels, of which three are long tunnels under the sea. Two more are already under construction, and another 14 are on the drawing board or wish list.
Map showing the current 20 tunnels in the Faroe Islands (including the 3 subsea tunnels) and the many planned tunnels.
The biggest of the future tunnel projects will be the tunnel from the southmost island of the Faroe Islands, Suðuroy, to the island of Sandoy. The tunnel is expected to cost around 3.4 billion DKK ( 450 million Euro) and will be around 22-24 kilometres (13-15 miles) long, making it the longest car traffic subsea tunnel in the world.