The tunnel is set to open on April 25. Photo / Pexels, Flo Maderebner
The tunnel, which connects the largely residential area of Fyllingsdalen to the city centre of Bergen, is 2.9 kilometres long and runs through a mountain.
It is expected to take commuters 8-10 minutes to ride through or 35-45 minutes to walk through. It’s built right next to a light rail tunnel and is the result of some clever architectural thinking that re-imagined new purposes for an existing space.
Speaking to EuroNews, the tunnel project manager, Arild Tveit, explained the origins of the tunnel, stating: “Basically, it is an escape tunnel for the tram, but then there were wise minds who said that it is possible to cycle through this escape tunnel as well and that was the starting point.”
It’s hard to imagine how it might feel to travel through an underground space that is so long, as such a large concrete space might be expected to be cold, dark and uncanny.
However, the experience of walking or riding through the tunnel is a key component in the mind of the developers.
Tveit says: “We have had artists create designs to make it an interesting tunnel … it is not monotonous.”
Commuters will not simply cycle through a long concrete tube. Instead, they can expect to be greeted by various murals, paintings and sculptures along the way. The path is also lit by bright, colourful light displays, which change from blue to purple, to red, to green along the journey.
One point in the tunnel hosts a giant tree-like sculpture as a centrepiece in the pathway. It has large rainbow branches, which are lit by various coloured lights and has an attached public seating arrangement.
The tunnel is set to open on April 25 and the occasion will be commemorated with both a foot race and bike parade. It aims to reduce traffic for commuters and create further convenience and safety for cyclists riding to the city.