One of the most amazing technical achievements made by humans is tunnels. Tunnels have significantly improved our ability to transport people and goods throughout the globe when faced with natural barriers like mountain passes or sizable bodies of water.
The first tunnel was engineered under the River Thames, London, in 1843. Since then, it has never looked back, and numerous tunnels started emerging across the globe. Now there may be various types of tunnels, made for different purposes like railway tunnels, road tunnels, and oil tunnels.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the world’s longest road tunnels. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Top 10 Longest Tunnel In The World
1. Lærdal Tunnel
● Country: Norway
● Length: 24.51 km
● Year of establishment: 2000
With a massive length of 24.51 km, the Lærdal Tunnel holds the prestigious title of the world’s longest road tunnel. It took five years to build, and it was finished in 2000. The tunnel connects the towns of Laerdal and Aurland, eliminating the requirement for boat connections or treacherous winter mountain traverses.
One thing to remember is that the tunnel lacks security exits, however, the engineers have taken enough safety precautions by placing fire extinguishers, emergency phones, wires, and many more.
The engineers have come up with the idea of spectacular lighting inside the tunnel so that the drivers don’t feel bored during their long journey. The lighting is so gorgeous that the tunnel is also used for wedding venues and photoshoots.
2. WestConnex Tunnel
● Country: Australia
● Length: 22 km
● Year of establishment: 2023
The WestConnex Tunnel is a major toll road project in Sydney, Australia. It consists of a network of tunnels and motorways to help reduce congestion and connect western suburbs to the city center.
Stage 3 of WestConnex created the M8, Australia’s longest road tunnel. The 4-lane, 5.5 mile long tunnel passes under Sydney Harbor between the suburbs of Rozelle and Castlecrag.
Tolls apply to use the tunnel to help fund the $16.8 billion project. While reducing inner-city traffic jams, WestConnex also faced backlash over forced home acquisitions and construction impacts. But the tunnel stands as an impressive engineering project transforming Sydney’s traffic flows.
3. Yamate Tunnel
● Country: Japan
● Length: 18.20 km
● Year of establishment: 2015
The second-longest tunnel in the world and the longest in Japan, Yamate Tunnel, is located 30 feet below the ground. The construction work of this tunnel started in 1992, but the tunnel became fully functional in 2015.
Yamate Tunnel also holds the title of the longest urban tunnel on the planet. The tunnel carries the Central Circular Route of the Shuto Express, in Tokyo, Japan. It has highly advanced equipment like fire extinguishers, foam sprays, infrared sensors, cameras, and telephones at every 100 m distance in order to ensure travelers’ safety.
4. Zhongnanshan Tunnel
● Country: China
● Length: 18.04 km
● Year of establishment: 2007
The former longest road tunnel in Asia is now the longest tunnel in China, as well as the 3rd longest in the world. Zhongnanshan tunnel is a part of the highway of Xi’an-Ankang, between the Changan and Zhashui counties. The tunnel was constructed with a budget of US$410 million.
The engineers have installed artificial plants, images of clouds, and gorgeous lights inside the tunnel so that it never gets boring for the driver to travel such a long distance. It takes around 15 minutes to drive through this tunnel.
5. Jinpingshan Tunnel
● Country: China
● Length: 17.54 km
● Year of establishment: 2011
With an immense length of 17.54 km, Jinpingshan Tunnel emerges as the 4th longest tunnel in the world. The tunnel is situated in China’s Sichuan province. It was constructed in 2011 and as of now is the deepest transport tunnel in China.
The tunnel connects to the world’s tallest dam, the Jinping Dam. Many people say that it’s utilized to get reach the Jinping Mountains’ hydroelectric power installations. The tunnel is not accessible to everyone, and only authorized vehicles have the right to drive through this. That’s why very little information is known about the tunnel to date.
6. St. Gotthard Tunnel
● Country: Switzerland
● Length: 16.918 km
● Year of establishment: 1980
St. Gotthard tunnel of Switzerland holds the title of the most expensive tunnel in the world. The Tunnel travels beneath the Gotthard Pass via the Alps. It was the world’s longest tunnel when it was built in 1980, but it is currently the fifth-longest.
It is a component of the A2 motorway, which travels north-south across the Alps. The tunnel has witnessed more than 500 accidents since its establishment and it was redesigned multiple times. It will take about fifteen minutes by car to cover the whole tunnel.
7. Ryfylke Tunnel
● Country: Norway
● Length: 14.459 km
● Year of establishment: 2019
Ryfylke Tunnel, which is located in Norway, is the longest as well as the deepest road tunnel which is located under the sea. It is an important component of National Road 13 of Norway, which connects Stavanger with Ryfylke. Engineers have designed it in a way with one 2-lane tube which can bear up to ten thousand vehicles per day.
Though it still holds the record of being the deepest undersea tunnel, the record isn’t going to last long as Norway has already designed a deeper undersea tunnel, Rogaland Fixed Link. it is approximated the project will be completed by 2031 and the tunnel will be around 27 km long.
8. Mount Ovit Tunnel
● Country: Turkey
● Length: 14.346 km
● Year of establishment: 2018
Mount Ovit Tunnel is the second-longest tunnel in Turkey and 7th longest tunnel in the world. The tunnel reduces the Rize-Erzurum highway’s length from 250 kilometers to 200 kilometers.
The idea was initially launched in 1880 as part of the Ottoman Empire’s expansion goals. The construction works started on 12th May 2012 and it became fully functional in 2018. It has two tubes. The tunnel was built to avoid the Ovit Pass in Turkey, connecting the villages of İspir and İkizdere.
● Country: Austria
● Length: 13.972 km
● Year of establishment: 1978
Arlberg Road Tunnel is Austria’s longest road tunnel. The tunnel is a section of the Arlberg highway that runs across the Arlberg mountain ranges. It joins Tyrol, situated in the eastern part of Austria with Vorarlberg, which is a western province of Austria. The construction took 4 years to build and was finally completed in 1978.
The tunnel was designed to bear the load of about 8,000 cars per day and is the safest mode of transit even during Winter. It has 8 emergency exits and is constantly watched by over 43 cameras. Special tolls must be paid in order to utilize the tunnel. A single car trip may cost around 10 euros.
10. SMART Tunnel
● Country: Malaysia
● Length: 9.7 km
● Year of establishment: 2007
The SMART Tunnel, in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia has a multi-function. It serves as both a tunnel for vehicles and a drainage system to handle rainfall. Spanning over 5 miles it holds the distinction of being the purpose tunnel in Southeast Asia.
The tunnel is designed with sections for vehicles and storm drainage effectively preventing flooding in the city. When there is rain, automated gates water into the lower drainage tunnel while still allowing vehicles to pass through the upper tunnel without any disruptions.
Considered an engineering feat the SMART Tunnel assists Kuala Lumpur in managing monsoon floods while ensuring traffic flow, beneath the city center.