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Rogfast procurement update 22 Jun 2017

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

The procurement schedule for the three large tunnelling lots in the planned world-beating Rogfast subsea highway tunnel project in Norway has been put back to later this year. Statens Vegvesen, the Norwegian roads authority (NPRA), had previously anticipated the first of the main contract awards and start of construction to be underway as soon as the second half of 2017. TunnelTalk has been told that procurement of these large contracts will be at the prequalification stage at that time, with the NPRA latest schedule awaiting further environment-related planning permissions for spoil disposal.

Section through Rogfast twin road tunnels
Section through Rogfast twin road tunnels

Award of the main contracts and start of construction is now expected in 2018 with the possibility that procurement calls for small contracts could begin sooner explained NPRA to TunnelTalk.

The 26.7km long Rogfast project comprises twin road tunnels below the Bokna fjord near Stavanger, and has mid-route links to the island of Kvitsøy which will also support ventilation. The project was one of the major tunnelling projects that attracted international attention at the WTC World Tunnel Congress hosted in Bergen in mid-June (2017).

Another notable project highlighted at the conference and also in the Stavanger area, is the Ryfast/Eiganes road scheme for NPRA which is at an advanced stage of construction and has reached another milestone with the completed excavation of the 5.5km long Hundvåg Tunnel, which is the second of the three tunnel packages in the overall scheme. The largest tunnel in the scheme will become the longest subsea road tunnel in the world at 14.3km long with the main excavation of the Ryfylke tunnel anticipated to be finished later this year.

Drill+blast breakthrough on the 5.5km long Hundvåg Tunnel in the Ryfast/Eiganes undersea road tunnel project

Rogfast is a major fjord crossing on the E39 west coast highway in Norway. In mid-2016, the project was preparing for procurement for principal packages later in the year, but the plans were pushed back for an early 2017 commencement due to pending Government approvals and also the requirement for a final quality report.

Subsequently, the project gained Parliamentary approval in mid-2017, but, with some approvals still needed, the procurement schedule for the main tunnelling lots has been reset confirmed NPRA to TunnelTalk before the WTC 2017 conference.

The design of the project has not been altered and the three large tunnelling packages remain in place as does the overall project budget.

Fig 1. Planned route of Rogfast subsea highway
Fig 1. Planned route of Rogfast subsea highway

All tunnelling is to be drill+blast on an alignment up to 390m below sea level. Pre-excavation grouting, a key capability of the Norwegian tunnelling industry and as reported by TunnelTalk, will be a central part of the construction contracts.

The main Rogfast packages and their revised procurement schedules are (Fig 1):

  • Kvitsøy Lot E02: 21km of tunnels forming an interchange below the island, budget NOK2.8 billion (US$328 million), contract advertisement expected Winter 2017-18
  • Harestad Lot E03: 16km of tunnels on the Stavanger side, budget NOK2.5 billion (US$293 million), contract advertisement Spring 2018
  • Laupland Lot E04: 19km of tunnels on the northern end of the route, budget NOK2.3 billion (US$269 million), contract advertisement in mid-2018

The smaller tunnelling packages anticipated for procurement in September-October this year are:

  • Mekjarvik Lot E011: 700m transportation tunnel
  • Arsvågen Lot E013: 4km of transportation/ventilation tunnels

The latest completion target for the Rogfast scheme has been pushed back from 2024 to 2025-26, NPRA confirmed to TunnelTalk.

The roads authority said Rogfast is being designed to be the safest tunnel in the world, and told TunnelTalk it views the project as qualifying for that ranking with features including cross passages every 250m; electronic detection of events and to discover overheating; the latest and largest in ventilation fans; and video monitoring of all underground spaces in the subsea crossing.

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