Engineering Marvels: 9 Longest Road Tunnels Around the World

Written By Wise Healthy n Wealthy

If you can’t go over it, and you can’t go under it, then you have to go through it. Whoever first decided to build a road tunnel took that mantra to heart. These mightily impressive feats of engineering drill through miles of earth to connect locations. Some of them are unbelievably long. In this post, we reveal 9 of the longest road tunnels in the world.

1. Lærdal Tunnel (Norway)

This is the longest road tunnel in the world, stretching approximately 24.51 kilometers (15.23 miles) in length. It is located in Norway and connects Lærdal and Aurland in Vestland County. The tunnel’s opening in 2000 marked the first time you could drive between Oslo and Bergen without having to catch a ferry. It’s so long that it has three large caves (with parking spaces) lit in blue lighting designed to break up the monotony for drivers.

2. Yamate Tunnel (Japan)

Japan’s Yamate Tunnel runs for 18.2 kilometers (11.3 miles), making it the longest in the country and the second longest in the world. The tunnel is part of the Central Circular Route of Tokyo’s Shuto expressway. It’s 30 meters below the surface.

3. Zhongnanshan Tunnel (China)

Also known as the Zhongnanshan Highway Tunnel, it is about 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) long, making it the third-longest road tunnel on the planet. Equally impressive is its maximum depth below the surface: 1640 meters. Located in China’s Shaanxi Province, it takes drivers under the Zhongnan Mountain. The tunnel was completed in January 2007, costing the equivalent of USD $410 million.

4. Gotthard Road Tunnel (Switzerland)

The Gotthard Road Tunnel was once the longest in the world. Now it’s in fifth position. It’s approximately 16.9 kilometers (10.5 miles) long and passes below the Gotthard Pass, which has been a major trade route in the country since the 13th century. Two rail tunnels also run through the same area, one of which made headlines last year after a freight train derailed inside. The Gotthard Road Tunnel opened in 1980.

5. Eiksund Tunnel (Norway)

This tunnel is approximately 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) long. So, while still impressive, it’s definitely not the longest on this list. However, it’s also famous for once being the world’s deepest undersea tunnel (until another Norwegian tunnel beat it), reaching a depth of 287 meters (942 feet). It connects the island of Hareidlandet to the mainland in Norway and was completed in 2008.

6. Hsuehshan Tunnel (Taiwan)

This tunnel, also known as the Snow Mountain Tunnel, is approximately 12.9 kilometers (8 miles) long and is one of the longest road tunnels in East Asia. It passes through the Snow Mountain Range in Taiwan and connects the western coast of the country to the eastern coast. It was completed in 2006. When it opened, it was the fifth longest in the world. It’s now ninth.

7. Smart Tunnel (Malaysia)

Also known as the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (i.e., SMART), this innovative tunnel in Kuala Lumpur is approximately 9.7 kilometers (6 miles) long. It serves both as a road tunnel and as a flood control system, capable of diverting floodwaters during heavy rains. It was completed in 2007 and remains the longest multi-purpose tunnel on the planet.

8. Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line (Japan)

This tunnel-bridge combination, officially known as the Trans-Tokyo Bay Highway, includes a 4.4-kilometer bridge section and a 9.6-kilometer (6-mile) long underwater tunnel section. Together, they connect the cities of Kawasaki and Kisarazu. It was completed in 1997.

9. Zigana Tunnel (Turkey)

Turkey’s longest tunnel extends approximately 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) between Torul and Maçka in the northeast. It enables drivers to bypass the Zigana Pass – the notorious mountain pass where Xenophon’s Ten Thousand shouted “The Sea! The Sea!” upon finally getting out of Persia. Work began on the Zigana Tunnel in April 2016, and it finally opened to the public in May 2023.

Leave a Comment