Single-Lane Bridge Replaced with Double-Lane Bridge Near Kirkjubæjarklaustur

kirkjubæjarklaustur bridge iceland

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Infrastructure, took part in the official opening of the new bridge over Jökulsá on the south coast of Iceland on Friday, October 21.

With the appearance of the new bridge, there will no longer be any one-way bridges between Reykjavík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a town on the south coast of Iceland. The improvement is a major one for the region, meaning that the drive east along the south coast will be all the more navigable.

Also present at the opening ceremony were Anton Kári Halldórsson, mayor of Rangárþing eystra, and Einar Freyr Elínarsn, mayor of Mýrdalshreppur municipality.

After the ceremony, minister Sigurður was the first to drive over the new bridge, inaugurating this latest addition to Iceland’s road system.

In his address at the ceremony, minister Sigurður outlined his ministry’s plans to get rid of single-lane bridges throughout the nation: “Today we move one step closer to that goal. Four years ago, 37 bridges on the Ring Road were single-lane, now there are 32, and there will be 31 when the new bridge opens today. And there is no let up in construction. I am hopeful that we will be able to reduce the number of them to 29 right before the end of the year, with new bridges openings on both Hverfisfljót and Núpsvötn later in the year. There are also three single-lane bridges that will be diverted around the Ring Road when traffic is allowed over the new bridge over the Hornafjörður River.”

According to information from the Road Administration, the new bridge is some 163 m [535 ft] long, with a total width of 10 m [33 ft]. The bridge it replaces was built in 1967, part of the construction of Iceland’s Ring Road.

No Gender Pay Gap in Árborg

pay gap iceland

For the first time in the municipality’s history, Árborg in South Iceland has reported no wage gap for the municipality’s thousand-some employees.

Fjóla Kristinsdóttir, mayor of Árborg, stated to Vísir that she was “extremely proud of this achievement.” She noted that it was particularly impressive given the large size of the municipality and their many employees, though she also stated “this is naturally what we have to do according to the law.”

On how the municipality achieved this milestone in social justice, Fjóla stated that “I’m not trying to own this accomplishment. It’s just our great staff who have been working hard on this.”

There are around 1,000 employees in Árborg municipality, with women now considerably more represented than men. Now, however, the basic wage for all is the same, something that was not always the case.

The news is significant in its timing as well, coming near the anniversary of Women’s Day Off. On October 24, 1975, women in Iceland staged a historic strike, now known as Women’s Day Off. With nearly 90% of Iceland’s women participating in the strike, they walked out of both jobs and domestic labour for the day. The following year, legislation ensuring equal pay was passed.

 

The Road to Borgarfjörður Eystri Now Paved

Borgarfjörður eystri east iceland

Residents of Borgarfjörður Eystri, a village in East Iceland, can now drive on paved roads all the way to Egilsstaðir.

The last section of paved road was completed earlier this month, a 15 km [9.3 mi] stretch near the town of Eiðar was finally paved.

Read more: Paving the Way to the Last Town in East Iceland

Héraðsverk, the contractor responsible for finishing the road project, reports that it was difficult going. The final section required significant blasting to clear the way. Now, however, a straight and wide road runs where there was previously a winding, gravel road with potholes.

The region has seen significant improvements in infrastructure in the last years, with a new road recently finished near Njarðvík. Residents also protested in 2018 by paving sections of road themselves to highlight inaction on behalf of the municipality.

Fragile Hope: How a programme to revive struggling villages in rural Iceland is rewiring collective mindset

 

With the recent improvements, all towns in the Fljótsdalshérað municipality are now connected via paved roads, a major milestone for this remote region of Iceland.

Eyþór Stefánsson, a resident of Borgarfjörður Eystri and representative in Múlaþing’s local council, is quoted as saying: “It’s amazing what’s happened in such a short time. We set off to fight to get sections of landslide-prone roads paved, but then this all started to happen incredibly fast.  We had hoped to improved the road from Eiðar but it turned out much better than we reckoned. They’ve taken away the blind rises, so now it’s a properly straight and wide road, practically a motorway.”