First Phase of Borgarlína Project Delayed by One Year

borgarlína rapid bus transit

The construction of the first phase of Reykjavík’s rapid bus transit line Borgarlína has been pushed back by a year. According to the updated schedule, the first section of the line will be operational in 2026, not 2025 as previously expected. Davíð Þorláksson, the CEO of Transport for the Capital Area (Betri samgöngur) says various factors have caused the delay.

“As the project advances, the variables decrease, and the plan becomes more precise,” Davíð told RÚV. “Now the timetable for the first phase is being updated. The line from Hamraborg to downtown Reykjavík will be delayed by one year.”

The Borgarlína project is technically complex, Davíð says, and adds that the initial timeline for the rapid transit service was unrealistic, as it did not take into account other construction projects in the capital area. “We need to coordinate this with for example the construction of the tunnels under Miklabraut and Sæbraut and so on. So, there are many things that are causing the timeline to change.”

A notice on the Transport for the Capital Area website states that COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have also delayed the project’s first phase.

Borgarlína aims to upgrade sections of existing road infrastructure with long stretches of dedicated public transport lanes. It is spearheaded by the city of Reykjavík, in co-operation with surrounding municipalities including Hafnarfjörður, Kópavogur, and Mosfellsbær. Borgarlína lanes will be exclusively for public transportation vehicles (and emergency services).

The first phase of Borgarlína also includes the construction of a bridge over Fossvogur bay. The bridge will be exclusively dedicated to public transport vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.

New Plant to Capture Ten Times More CO2 from Atmosphere at Hellisheiði

green energy iceland

A new plant in Iceland will capture 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere, increasing the direct air carbon capture at Hellisheiði Power Station tenfold. Named Mammoth, the new facility adds to the existing 4,000 tonnes captured by the plant Orca, which commenced operations at the same location in September 2021, the first of its kind in the world. The plants are a project of Swiss company Climeworks, in collaboration with Carbfix and ON Power.

Hellisheiði Power Station is the world’s third-largest geothermal power plant. Since 2012, the Carbfix project has been capturing carbon dioxide directly from the plant’s emissions, in collaboration with Climeworks. Once captured, the carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, pumped into the ground, and turned to stone, thus permanently removing it from the atmosphere. Orca and Mammoth, however, capture carbon directly from the atmosphere, making them key technologies in the fight against climate catastrophe.

See Also: Set in Stone

“Today is a very important day for Climeworks and for the industry as construction begins on our newest, large-scale direct air capture and storage plant,” stated Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks.

The IPCC’s latest report shows that in addition to significant reductions in emissions, the capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere is a necessary component of most scenarios limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2100. The report states that to reach this goal, up to 310 gigatonnes of CO2 must be captured from the atmosphere by that time.

“Large-scale carbon removal is vital in addition to rapid emission reduction if we are to reach our climate goals and our mineralisation technology provides the safest and most permanent storage mechanism for capture CO2,” stated Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, CEO of Carbfix.

Climeworks is currently running pilot projects around the world to determine other suitable locations for their carbon capture technology.

Is there any news on Borgarlína or the airport train?

Public bus in Reykjavík

Borgarlína is a bus rapid transit system designed to enable environmentally-friendly, people-oriented transportation in the capital area of Iceland. The project has been in development since 2015 and involves upgrading existing road infrastructure to include long stretches of separated public transport lanes. In June 2022, it was announced that the first section of the project would be delayed, with completion now projected for the year 2026 instead of 2025. It is not clear whether this will affect the overall deadline for the Borgarlína project, set for 2033.

Next to Borgarlína, no other railway or light-rail proposals are being considered in Iceland. There has, however, been some discussion regarding the possibility of constructing an airport rail link, called the Lava Express. The Lava Express is an ambitious project involving 49km [30 mi] of train tracks (of which 14km [8,7mi] underground) between Keflavík Airport and the capital area, with BSÍ bus station as the terminus in Reykjavík.

The average speed of the train would be 180kph [112mph] with a maximum speed of 250kph [155mph] resulting in a travel time of 15-18 minutes compared with a travel time of 40-50 minutes in a private car or a taxi. The construction time of the project is 48-60 months. The last estimate was that work on the project could begin in 2022 and that it would take three years to finish, but as funding was problematic even before COVID started, the project will not start any time soon.

Flashing Red Light to Warn of Dangerous Waves at Reynisfjara

A flashing red light will be installed at Reynisfjara beach in South Iceland to warn visitors of dangerous waves. RÚV reports that the light will be installed within three weeks. Powerful sneaker waves at the beach have been the cause of several fatal accidents, despite signs that warn visitors to keep their distance from the water.

The light will flash yellow or red based on the conditions at the beach. The colour code is based on a wave forecasting system that the Road and Coastal Administration began developing five years ago thanks to a grant from the Tourism Site Protection Fund.

“With [the forecasting system] we can predict with some degree of certainty how the waves will be,” explained Fannar Gíslason, who manages the Road and Coastal Administration’s harbour division. “The risk has been colour-coded green, yellow, and red depending on how much danger is posed by the waves at Reynisfjara.”

The light will be installed by the parking lot and walking path by Reynisfjara and will never be lit green. “There will be a flashing yellow warning light and it will be red when conditions are poor. We’ll have it like that at first, in any case. We’ll see how that goes, whether people notice it.”

In order to determine which wave heights are dangerous to the beach’s visitors, wave data was cross-referenced with police diaries and incident records. According to Fannar, the current forecasting system is in sync with that data.

A camera system will also be set up by the beach to allow authorities to observe the waves visually and calibrate those observations into the forecast.