In addition to replacing the current access tunnel with a water resistant concrete construction, all technical installations will move into a separate service building that will be built adjacent to the vault itself. The service building will also provide basic office facilities for managing the arrival and registration of seeds.
The purpose of the project is to make the Seed Vault more resistant to a wetter and warmer climate in the future. All heat sources in the Vault have been moved out and will be placed in the service building and extra cooling capacities will be installed. The work is expected to be completed in May 2019.
The work on the tunnel has adapted a well-known technology that is used in subsea tunnel projects. It calls for freezing the construction site in order to make a stable foundation for the new tunnel. Due to freezing of the moisture condensation, the equipment forms quite spectacular sculptures that will be visible for the duration of the work.
The Seed Vault entrance has become a popular tourist destination in Longyearbyen. However, during the construction period, the Seed Vault entrance and the area around will be restricted, no-access areas. For information about the Seed Vault and its mission, tourists can visit the Seed Vault exhibition at Svalbard Museum in the Centre of Longyearbyen.
More information on Statsbyggs webpages.