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Subsea road tunnels mooted to connect Scottish islands

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A series of undersea road tunnels connecting Scotland’s Western Isles has been proposed. 

Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Angus MacNeil, has written to the Scottish transport minister Michael Matheson to suggest a system of subsea tunnels to link the Western Isles. 

MacNeil has suggested that Scotland should take inspiration from a system of subsea tunnels being built to link Denmark’s Faroe Islands, 320km off the North Scottish coast.  

MacNeil said subsea tunnels linking the Western Isles – including the Isles of Barra, Harris and Lewis -  would bring big economic benefits for the remote islands. 

“The transport network in the Faroes is the kind of system we should aspire to follow in the Scottish islands,” he said.  

“Infrastructure of this kind would have huge economic and social benefits to all parts of the islands and would remove travel disruption due to weather conditions or issues associated with capacity.”  

The £220M project being constructed in the Faroe Islands by Swedish construction company NCC Group comprises 17 land tunnels and two subsea tunnels (11.2km 10.5km long) that also features the world’s first subsea roundabout.  

The system virtually eliminates the need for weather dependent ferry services between the islands. 

The two new subsea tunnels lie 187m below sealevel, are being blasted and drilled through volcanic rock to shorten the travel time between the islands. The project is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken on the islands and represents an important step in linking the communities, businesses and inhabitants of the islands. The Faroe Islands tunnel system will open to the public in December 2020. 

Scottish transport officials are also considering proposals to replace the Corran Ferry route which crosses Loch Linnhe from Nether Lochaber to Ardgour, at the Corran Narrows - with a subsea tunnel. 

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Readers' comments (4)

  • A 14km tunnel to cross the 400metres of the Corran Narrows or have I missed something here

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  • I assume it's the depth/gradient/landing conditions that necessitate it being 14km

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  • Or perhaps they meant to say Corran Ferry is 14km SW of Fort William (but got confused/didn't proof-read).

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  • The £220m NCC contract is for the two subsea tunnels. I think the land tunnels are existing or proposed (more confusion/lack of checking).

    Press articles show an options plan with a tunnel (about 1.4km long) and bridge as alternatives to the ferry. NCE perpetuate the error in these articles of stating that a tunnel would connect Corran and the Ardnamurchan Peninsular. Corran is already on the west side of the narrows and thus connected to Ardnamurchan already.

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