On Norwegian Rock Constructions

Published on March 12 2011

Norway is a mountainous country with 5 mill. inhabitants. Located between 58o and 71o north, it has an area of 324 000 km². Rock construction has played an important role in this country during the last 100 years; first for hydropower development, then for transport and water supply and later for oil development.

Over the years, more than 5000km of tunnels have been excavated, probably the world record compared with the country’s size and population. Click here to see a short history of Norwegian tunneling

The frequent use of the underground for various purposes has generated some Norwegian specialties in rock constructions, such as

  • unlined pressure shafts and pressure tunnels (for hydropower);
  • air cushion surge chambers in rock (for hydropower);
  • lake taps by piercing to the lake bottom with the tunnel (for utilizing a larger volume in the reservoir lake for hydropower);
  • subsea tunnels (i.e., tunnels passing beneath lake or sea bottom);
  • storage caverns in rock;
  • effective sealing of water inflows by grouting.


Some information on these items and on Norwegian rock construction activities can be found in:

Subsea tunnels are tunnels which pass under the sea, rivers, and lakes. Lake taps are tunnels, which make a hole-through (piercing) to the sea or lake bottom.

For more information on these items and on activities in Norwegian rock construction, see www.tunnel.no

The  Norwegian Tunnelling Society (NFF) together with the Norwegian Rock Mechanics Group (NBG) and Norwegian Geotechnical Society (NGF) arranges an annual conference on tunnelling, rock engineering/engineering geology and soil mechanics in November called the NFF Fall Conference

Important quotations are presented below from time to time:

"If the art of soil classification is far from satisfactory, the confusion is often made worse in that users are unaware of its limitations and apply it for purposes other than that originally intended".

Arthur M. Casagrande (1948)