The tunnels on this list were nearly all built to help cars get through large mountains instead of having to build a tricky road up and over the mountains. Digging and building tunnels is hard and dangerous work. Rock and dirt have to be dug out and blasted away. As the tunnel is dug, the walls have to be built to make sure it doesn’t all come crashing down. Engineers have to be very careful in designing tunnels to withstand the enormous pressure of the mountain on top! These tunnels are so long that you definitely can’t play the “hold-your-breath-in-a-tunnel” game! Below is the list of world’s 10 longest road tunnels.
World’s 10 longest road tunnels
10. Baojiashan, China (11.2 KM)
Xian is a major city in central China, near the Qinling mountains. To reach a neighboring city to the south, Ankang, drivers on the G30 expressway go through this tunnel, the third longest in China.
9. Gudvangen, Norway (11.4 KM)
Want to get from Bergen to Oslo in time for the ferry? Then you’ll spend about 20 minutes in this two-lane tunnel through the Aurland region of Norway.
8. Mont Blanc, France to Italy (11.5 KM)
At 4,810 metres, Mont Blanc is the highest mountain on the continent of Europe. Far below is this busy tunnel connecting Italy and France. Following a terrible vehicle fire in 1 999, new safety and fire prevention systems were put in place in the Mont Blanc tunnel, 8th in World’s longest tunnels.
7. Majishan Tunnel, China (12.2 KM)
Located almost in the very centre of China, this four-lane one of the longest tunnels in the world, keeps traffic flowing on a busy east-west highway.
6. Frejus, France to Italy (12.8 KM)
Two tunnels connect France and Italy through the Italian Alps. One lets traffic flow, with border crossings at each end. The other is dedicated to rescue and safety … just in case!
5. Hsuehshan Tunnel, Taiwan (12.8 KM)
This long stretch of tunnel on the island of Taiwan has computer-controlled lights and video to help control traffic and speeds, making this 12.8-km trip quick and safe.
4. Arlberg, Austria (14 KM)
Getting out of a tunnel in an emergency is part of every tunnel plan. This tunnel through the Austrian Alps goes one step further, creating more than 60 ways for people to get out in case of trouble.
3. ST. Gotthard Tunnel, Switzerland (16.9 KM)
How busy is this tunnel connecting Switzerland with the road south to Italy? There is so much traffic that a second, parallel tunnel is in the planning stages. Traffic jams often pack this tunnel with cars for hours.
2. Qinling Zhongnanshan Tunnel, China (18 KM)
This is the longest twin-tube tunnel in the world. That means four lanes of traffic can travel through. Along the way, drivers are entertained by pictures of clouds and plants projected onto the walls!
1. Laerdal Tunnel, Norway (24.4 KM)
Norwegians are good at making tunnels! Dozens of them are used to help people get around this mountainous country. The Laerdal Tunnel connects beautiful Laerdal Valley in north-central Norway. Workers had to dig for five years to build this two-lane road that runs through almost solid rock.
They Used a massive tunnel boring machine that chews up rock and stone and tunnelled from both ends using satellites to make Sure each end was going in the right direction. Lasers were also used in the tunnels to create perfectly straight lines, too.
The tunnel stretches so far that a separate tunnel was dug near its middle. That way if the tunnel was blocked near one end or an accident closed lanes, rescue workers could still get inside.
Tunnels have to be bored, of course, but the rides in them don’t have to be boring (get it?), When building Laerdal,
engineers worked with scientists to design curves and slopes so that drivers would not be lulled to sleep by a long, straight drive. The use of special lighting also helps to change the “scenery” a bit. It can take more than 30 minutes to get through the tunnel, so the aim was to make sure everyone made it through safely!
Another tunnel may have jumped onto this list by the time you read about it. The Mount Ovit Tunnel is planned to run through 14.6 km of rugged mountains in northeastern Turkey. Work started in 2012. The tunnel was due to be ready to open in either 2015 or 2016.