Neues Tempolimit auf einspurigen Brücken

Die isländische Strassenverwaltung hat beschlossen, auf allen einspurigen Brücken des Landes, die von mehr als 300 Fahrzeugen pro Tag befahren werden, ein Tempolimit von 50 km/h einzuführen, berichtet Vísir.

In Island gibt es 75 solcher einspurigen Brücken, gut die Hälfte davon befindet sich auf der Ringstrasse.

Die Entscheidung fiel, nachdem sich Ende Dezember ein schwerer Verkehrsunfall auf der Brücke über die Núpsvötn ereignet hatte, bei dem drei Touristen, darunter ein kleines Kind, ums Leben kamen. Das Fahrzeug war auf der einspurigen Brücke durch das Brückengitter in den Schotter gestürzt.

Neben Tempolimitschildern sollen auch Warnschilder aufgestellt werden, ausserdem will man die Schilder zusätzlich in englischer Sprache beschriften.

Die Kosten für das Austauschen der Strassenschilder soll sich auf 70 bis 80 Millionen Kronen (506,170 EUR) belaufen.

Auch ein Tempolimit auf der Ringstrasse durch kleinere Ortschaften steht zur Debatte. Dies soll entweder in einzelnen Abschnitten “bei Bedarf” eingeführt werden, oder durch zusätzliche Beschilderung.

Schliesslich sollen auch sämtlichen Brücken an Haupt- und Verbindungsstrasse auf ihre Sicherheit überprüft werden, wobei eine Reparatur je nach Brückenzustand und jeweiligen Bedingungen, unter Berücksichtigung des finanziellen Spielraums durchgeführt werden.

In einer Bekanntmachung der Strassenverwaltung hiess es “Nach wie vor gilt die goldene Regel, dass man seine Fahrt jederzeit den Umständen anpasst.”

Im Klartext heisst dies, dass man manchmal eben langsamer als das Tempolimit fahren muss.

Four Million Trees to be Planted in 2019

The Icelandic Forest Service intends to plant nearly four million trees this year as part of a long-term climate action plan, RÚV reports. The new plantings will supplement the three million that the Forest Service planted last year, and will include birch, larch, black cottonwood, lodgepole pine, and sitka spruce trees, among other species.

“There are exciting times ahead,” remarked National Forest Division Chief Þröstur Eysteinsson. “This summer, we decided that reforestation would play a big part in Icelanders’ climate action plan and that we should plant a lot more trees in the coming years than we have so far. This won’t start all that quickly, but we expect to get close to four million trees in total and then go up from there.” Tens of millions of krónur are currently being invested in reforestation projects, and Þröstur hopes that by 2020, investment will increase to hundreds of millions.

Iceland’s five-year fiscal plan anticipates spending ISK 6.8 billion [$56.4 million; €49.2 million] on climate-related expenses. The majority of this funding, or ISK 4 billion [$33.2 million; €28.9 million], will be allocated to CO2 capture efforts lead by the Forest Service and Soil Conservation Service. The Forest Service will receive an increase of ISK 450 million [$3.7 million; €3.3 million] by 2020, going up to ISK 1.7 billion [$14.1 million; €12.3 million] by 2023.

This year, the Forest Service will be planting a large percentage of its new trees on land in its ownership, particularly in Skorradalur in West Iceland. There will also be significant plantings in in South Iceland at a new grove near Þorlákshöfn—aided by this year’s seedling fundraiser to benefit ICE-SAR—as well as one on Mt. Hekla.

Domestic Flights Will Likely Depart from Keflavík in the Future

There is a strong possibility that domestic flights will be offered directly from Keflavík airport when there facility expansions there are completed, RÚV reports.

This is according to Minister of Transportation Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, per a written response he gave to an inquiry from Social Democrat MP Albertína Friðbjörg Elíasdóttir. Albertína also inquired as to whether the new facilities at Keflavík would be sufficiently able to accommodate domestic flights. Sigurður noted that the architectural plans are still being designed, but that they do anticipate the need for domestic flight facilities.

Currently, flights to destinations within Iceland only depart from the Reykjavík airport not far from downtown, although there is a longstanding debate over whether or not the airport should be moved to a less populated, less central location.

It hasn’t yet been decided when construction on the expanded facilities at Keflavík airport will begin. Should a date be set soon, it’s likely that construction would be completed in 2022 or 2023.

Speed Limit Reduced on Single-Lane Bridges

The Icelandic Road Administration has decided to reduce the speed limit to 50 kph [31 mph] on all single-lane bridges throughout the country, Vísir reports. There are 75 single-lane bridges in Iceland and it’s estimated that the cost of changing the speed limit signage for each of them will cost between ISK 70 – 80 million [$581,108; €506,170]. The resulting safety benefits, however, are expected to be worth the expense.

The Road Administration’s decision comes in the wake of the fatal car accident at Núpsvötn at the end of December in which three tourists—including one child—lost their lives when their vehicle went through the railing on a single-lane bridge.

The country’s 75 single-lane bridges are highly trafficked: it’s estimated that more than 300 cars cross single-lane bridges every day in Iceland. This makes sense, given that about half of them are located along the Ring Road. In addition to changing out the speed limit signage, the Road Administration will add English signage at the crossings to ensure that foreign travelers take appropriate safety precautions. They will be reviewing speed limits on roads throughout the country and either reducing speed limits as deemed necessary or installing additional speed limit signage. There will also be an assessment of bridge conditions on main and connecting roads and improvements made according to need and budgetary limitations.

All combined, these improvements are intended to increase driver safety throughout the country, but the Road Administration urges travelers to remember the “Golden Rule” that always applies while driving: adjust your speed according to what is safe given current road conditions, not simply the posted speed limit.