Transportation and Planning
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Technical information

  • Hvalfjordur tunnel:

Total length of tunnel: 5,650m.

There of 3,750m under sea level.
Most depth below sea lvel: 165m.
Most sea depth: 40m
Minimum rock cover: 40m

Storage capacity for water leakage: 2,000 m3

  • Maximum gradient:
    4-7% in southern end
    8,1% in northern end
  • Length of concrete portals:
    225m at south end
    65m at north end
  • Traffic:
    The tunnel was designed for AADT traffic of 5,000 vehicles.
  • Construction cost:
    5,000 million ISK or about 70 million USD.
  • Other designers:
    Skanska teknik AB

Verkís handled almost all aspects of the design of Hvalfjordur sub-sea tunnel:

  • Design of road alignment and road
  • Design of concrete portals
  • Design of electricity substations
  • Drainage design
  • Design of pump system for seepage water in tunnel nadir
  • Traffic signage
  • Risk assessment


The Hvalfjordur tunnel spans Hvalfjordur fjord close to the fjord mouth. The tunnel is excavated in bedrock. The construction of the tunnel shortened the ring-road along the west coast by 42 km.

 The tunnel has two lanes, but in the north end an additional climbing lane is provided to allow overtaking of slow vehicles. Portals are at 500 m intervals to allow turning around.

The project was a milestone in construction of this scale in Iceland as it was the first private finance initiative without direct funding by the state treasury.

The company Spolur handled the construction and now owns and operates the tunnel. Spolur charges a road toll to pay for the construction and when the investment has been fully repaid the tunnel will become property of the Icelandic administration.


The Hvalfjordur tunnel connects the south and southwest of Iceland to the west and north. Public road no. 1, or Vesturlandsvegur as the western section is named, lies through the tunnel which spans the Hvalfjordur fjord.

The tunnel was constructed in the years 1996-1998 and was opened to traffic on July 11th 1998.


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