The construction of a protective barrier near the Geldingadalur volcano began last night, Vísir reports. Local authorities hope to impede the flow of lava into Nátthagi valley, from where it may proceed south toward Suðurstrandarvegur and cause damage to infrastructure.
Suðurstrandarvegur in jeopardy
In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Fannar Jónasson, Mayor of Grindavík, expressed his concern regarding the flow of lava from the eruption near Fagradalsfjall toward Suðurstrandarvegur (a coastal road running between Grindavík and Þorlákshöfn, which besides being an important transportation artery has also been widely used by travellers visiting the volcano). If the lava were to flow into Nátthagi valley, it could stream south toward the coastal road, resulting in disruption to traffic and damage to infrastructure (including fibre-optic cables).
According to Fannar, the Grindavík Town Council resolved last week to do everything in its power to impede the flow of lava into Nátthagi, having already drawn up plans for a specially-made barrier. “We’re planning a four-meter high barrier. Within it, there will likely be a kind of cavity, which we hope will steer the lava in a different direction.”
Fannar also emphasized that the barrier was designed, first and foremost, with people’s safety in mind. “There’s been a Herculean effort in this area to ensure the safety of visitors.”
“Large bulldozer” on the scene
The project will involve, among other things, the filling of two rifts, with rocks from the area being utilized for this purpose. Construction workers hope to fill the western rift today and the eastern rift over the coming days.
The construction is undertaken by the Department for Civil Protection and Emergency Management.
Neither representatives from the town of Grindavík nor the Department for Civil Protection and Emergency Management could be reached for comment.