||This article may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia's layout guidelines. (December 2014)|
Opening ceremony, February 23, 2008
|Location||Møre og Romsdal, Norway|
|Opened||23 February 2008|
|Vehicles per day||2884|
|Length||7,765 m (25,476 ft)|
|Number of lanes||3|
|Lowest elevation||−287 m (−942 ft)|
|Width||10 m (33 ft)|
The Eiksund tunnel (Norwegian: Eiksundtunnellen) is an undersea tunnel in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. The tunnel runs under the Vartdalsfjorden connecting Ørsta Municipality and Ulstein Municipality. The tunnel was built as part of a large project including 3 tunnels and a bridge connecting several islands to the mainland. The bridge-tunnel complex serves the municipalities of Herøy, Sande, Ulstein, Hareid, Ørsta, and Volda which together have over 40,000 inhabitants.
The Eiksund Bridge joins Hareidlandet island and the village of Eiksund with the nearby island of Eika. The Eiksund Tunnel begins at the south end of the bridge (on Eika island) goes under the Vartdalsfjorden and connects to the mainland near the village of Ørsta.
The tunnel carries three lanes of traffic. The average daily traffic through the Eiksund Tunnel was predicted to 1,000 vehicles. The lowered threshold of crossing the fjord, however, rapidly increased vpd to 2200 vpd. When the tunnel was fully financed after only six years and became toll free, traffic jumped again to 2880 vpd.
The total cost of the tunnel was about NOK 800,000,000. The tunnel is 7,765 metres (25,476 ft) long and reaches a depth of −287 metres (−942 ft), which makes it the deepest undersea tunnel of its kind in the world. The tunnel was opened to traffic on 23 February 2008. The tunnel was originally intended to be opened to the public in July 2007, but numerous delays pushed the date back to December 2007 and then eventually to 2008.
The 405-metre (1,329 ft) long Eiksund Bridge and the 1,160-metre (3,810 ft) long Helgehorn Tunnel were built along with the tunnel. These three structures are a part of Norwegian County Road 653, a highway that links Norwegian County Road 61 between Ulstein and Herøy to the European route E39 highway between Ørsta and Volda.
On 28 June 2009, there was a severe accident in the tunnel, leaving five men dead. A young man was thought to have been speeding around 150-200kph (90-120mph) with three male passengers in their 20s, and hit the side of the tunnel and flipped his car that crashed into an oncoming vehicle that carried only the driver.