Undersea road tunnels in the Faroe Islands have garnered attention worldwide in the last few years, recently inspiring lawmakers in Scotland to take a closer look at the Faroese approach to infrastructure development.
The Eysturoy Tunnel (Eysturoyartunnilin), opened to the public in 2020, famously featured the world’s first undersea roundabout.
Shortly before the inauguration of the Faroe Islands’ latest undersea tunnel, on December 21st—the 10.8 kilometer Sandoy Tunnel (Sandoyartunnilin), the longest road tunnel in the island nation—Scottish MPs Angus MacNeil and Ronnie Cowan paid a visit and were given the opportunity to experience the new tunnel for themselves, as well as experiencing other subsea tunnels.
Transport Scotland, the national transport agency of Scotland, has, according to BBC News, proposed “carrying out detailed appraisals of tunnels linking parts of the Western Isles and Mull and the mainland” to improve connectivity and reliability in that respect.
“Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil is among supporters of the idea of road tunnels similar to those linking communities in the Faroe Islands,” the BBC noted.
“The fact that you have built a 10.8km undersea tunnel connecting two islands, with one of them only being inhabited by 1,200 people is just outstanding,” Mr. MacNeil told news daily Portal.fo during his visit. “We have much to learn from the Faroese,” the MP was further quoted as saying.
“I have visited Faroe several times and can only affirm that you are masters of your own country,” he added. “This is more than idle talk, it’s reality. And this is first and foremost because you make your own decisions and are not restricted to asking other people in another country about what is best for your country and people. I envy you this option.”
The Sandoy Tunnel is the Faroe Islands’ fourth undersea road tunnel; according to statistics, cars have since then taken advantage of it well over 60,000 times, boosted by an introductory toll free period up until January 12th.
Thus from December 21st to 31st, the total traffic amounted to 24,202, on average 2,200 a day. In January, the total traffic count was 39,215 or an average 1,265 per day, far higher than earlier estimates of a daily 300-400.