A new limited company, Vadlaheidargöng, which will be responsible for the construction and operation of a new tunnel through Mt. Vadlaheidi between Akureyri and Húsavík in northeast Iceland, was founded earlier this month.
The new tunnel Hédinsfjardargöng which opened in north Iceland last autumn. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the autumn and the project is estimated to cost ISK 10.4 billion (USD 89 million, EUR 64 million), ruv.is reports.
Director of the Road Administration Hreinn Haraldsson told Fréttabladid that the project will be paid for by road tolls. “If the tunnel isn’t fully paid in the 25 years as we expect it will, the road tolls will simply be charged for a longer period.” It is planned that the price for driving through the tunnel will be ISK 800 (USD 6.9, EUR 4.9).
Representatives of the Icelandic Automobile Association (FÍB) commented that the cost estimate is too low, saying the tunnel construction will cost at least ISK four billion more. They also believe the planned road toll is a few hundred krónas too low.
According to ruv.is, the Icelandic Road Administration owns 51 percent in the company Vadlaheidargöng and the remaining 49 percent is owned by Greid leid.
Haraldsson said the preliminary selection for the tunnel has almost been completed and that an international preliminary selection will be issued shortly. The plan is to take tenders in the spring. Offers will then be evaluated and negotiations are hoped to be launched in the summer.
The construction is estimated to take two to three and a half years and so the tunnel might open at the end of 2014. The tunnel will be 9.5 meters wide and 7.4 kilometers long and enable drivers to avoid the hazardous mountain pass Víkurskard.
Click here to read about another tunnel which recently opened in north Iceland.