Which are the top 10 longest road tunnels in the world?

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The longest road tunnel in the world stands as a testament to human ingenuity and relentless ambition. As we delve deep beneath mountains and glide under expansive waters, the marvel of travelling through these immense man-made caverns becomes evident.

Each tunnel is not just a passage; it is a story of overcoming daunting terrains of nations striving to push the very boundaries of engineering. As the world evolves, these subterranean wonders not only facilitate seamless transport but also symbolise our unyielding determination and innovative spirit to bridge horizons, both literal and metaphorical.

Top 10 longest road tunnels in the world

Navigating the grandeur of the world’s most extensive tunnels feels like taking a step back in time, tracing the arcs of history, the ebbs and flows of economies, and the undying spirit of human resolve. These passages, shaped by engineering marvels, also narrate tales of fiscal challenges and ticking clocks. Indeed, the top ten longest road tunnels on the globe stand as magnificent monuments to our limitless aspirations.

1. Lærdal Tunnel | Norway | 24.51 km

The Lærdal Tunnel stands as the pinnacle of road tunnel engineering, stretching an unparalleled 24.51 kilometers. Its construction began in 1995 and saw completion in 2000. Serving as a vital connection between Lærdal and Aurland in Western Norway, this tunnel’s uniqueness extends to its interior, where advanced lighting techniques replicate daylight, reducing driver fatigue during the roughly 20-minute transit.

2. Yamate Tunnel | Japan | 18.2 km

Tokyo’s Yamate Tunnel holds the distinction of being the second longest road tunnel globally at 18.2 kilometers. This tunnel’s construction journey is as impressive as its length; built in segmented sections, the tunnel’s development spanned 23 years. Located in the bustling heart of Tokyo, it stands as a testament to Japan’s commitment to infrastructural development and urban planning.

3. Zhongnanshan Tunnel | China| 18.04 km

The Zhongnanshan Tunnel in China is more than just a tunnel; it’s an 18.04 km journey beneath the Zhongnan Mountain in Shaanxi. Completed in 2007, this 2-bore tunnel showcases China’s expertise in navigating challenging terrains. Besides its impressive length, the tunnel’s engineering depth reaches a staggering 1,640 meters below the mountain’s surface.

4. Jinpingshan Tunnel | China | 17.54 km

Located in Sichuan, China, the Jinpingshan Tunnel is not just about its 17.54 km length. This marvel of engineering leads directly to the Jinping Dam, the world’s highest dam. Constructed in 2011, the tunnel remains exclusive, granting access only to authorized vehicles, emphasizing the significance and security of the dam it leads to.

5. St. Gotthard Tunnel | Switzerland | 16.84 km

Switzerland’s Gotthard Tunnel, once the titleholder as the longest road tunnel in Europe, measures an impressive 16.84 km. From its inauguration in 1980 until 2000, it enjoyed the title of the world’s longest road tunnel. Linking the picturesque villages of Göschenen in Uri canton with Airolo in Canton Ticino, this tunnel revolutionized transportation by providing a faster route across the Gotthard massif.

6. Tiantaishan Tunnel | China | 15.56 km

Built in 2021 in the province of Shaanxi, the Tiantaishan Tunnel emphasizes China’s continued presence in the top 10 longest tunnel in the world rankings. With a length of 15.56 kilometers, this tunnel is a testament to China’s rapidly advancing infrastructure, answering the frequently asked question: “Which country has the longest road tunnel in the world?” As of now, China dominates the list with multiple entries.

7. Ryfylke Tunnel | Norway | 14.46 km

Norway makes another appearance on the longest road tunnel in the world map with the Ryfylke Tunnel. Measuring 14.46 kilometers and constructed in 2019, it serves as a crucial link between Stavanger and Ryfylke. The tunnel’s construction underlines Norway’s solutions to its geographical challenges, mainly its fjords, showcasing innovative tunneling techniques.

8. Mount Ovit Tunnel | Turkey | 14.346 km

On the top ten longest road tunnels in the world, the Mount Ovit Tunnel in Turkey shines with its 14.346 km stretch between Ikizdere and İspir. Completed in 2018, this tunnel presents a testament to Turkey’s dedication to enhancing its road networks, navigating through challenging terrains and bridging distant regions.

9. Arlberg Tunnel | Austria | 13.972 km

The Arlberg Tunnel, an essential part of the longest road tunnel in Europe list, showcases Austria’s engineering prowess. Connecting Vorarlberg and Tyrol, this 13.972 km tunnel, built in 1978, was one of the earliest feats of its kind in the Alpine region, ensuring smoother and safer journeys across the challenging Alpine arc.

10. Micangshan Tunnel | China | 13.8 km

Sichuan province houses the Micangshan Tunnel, rounding out our list of the world’s ten longest road tunnels. With a length of 13.8 kilometers, built in 2018, it’s another feather in China’s cap, answering the question: “where is the longest highway tunnel of the world situated?” For now, it’s Norway, but China is not far behind with its consistent infrastructural advancements.

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A world of long tunnels

When people ask, “Which is the world No 1 longest tunnel?” or “Which is the longest driving tunnels in world?” – Norway’s Lærdal Tunnel takes the crown. But as the list showcases, many countries are pushing the boundaries of engineering, with tunnels serving as a testament to human achievement.

The longest rail tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, is a separate marvel, not to be confused with its road counterpart. The future is likely to see even more tunnels joining this illustrious list, with countries around the world recognizing the importance of these subterranean highways in connecting people and places.