Truckers blast tunnel under the Oslo Fjord

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A long and deep tunnel under the Oslo Fjord, which opened amidst much fanfare in 2000, has since been the site of several accidents and tunnel closures. The latest occurred this week, and now truckers claim they dread driving through it.

On Tuesday, a large semi-trailer caught fire during the descent into the tunnel and its driver had to bail out and leave his blazing rig at the tunnel’s deepest point of 134 meters under sea level. The tunnel was quickly closed, and both the truck driver and two other stranded motorists were treated for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire wasn’t confirmed as of Wednesday, but it’s suspected that the truck’s brakes overheated. The prospect of that happening during the long downhill slope of the tunnel reportedly is a constant fear for truck drivers.

“Drivers don’t like (the tunnel) because it’s so long and too steep,” Olav Klasson Vefald, a regional boss for the truckers’ association Lastebileierforbund told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It’s a psychological strain to drive there, because they know that critical situations can occur.”

Vefald wants better signage inside the 7.3-kilometer- (4.4 mile) long tunnel, to warn truck drivers of how steep it is on the descent from either the Drøbak or Hurum sides.

The incident closed the tunnel for the rest of the day, while firefighters got the blaze under control and cleared the wreckage. The tunnel, part of the E23 highway that was meant to divert traffic from Oslo, re-opened on Wednesday.

Views and News staff