Contentious Westfjords Road Approved Skip to content
Different proposals for a new road in the South Westfjords.
Photo: Different proposals for a new road in the South Westfjords..

Contentious Westfjords Road Approved

Above: The two proposed roads through Reykhólahreppur district. The approved Þ-H route lies north of Reykhólar, through Teigsskógar. Photo: RÚV screenshot.

The local council of Reykhólahreppur has approved the Þ-H route through Gufudalssveit in the South Westfjords by a vote of three votes to two, RÚV reports. The route is highly contentious, as Reykhólar residents in Reykhóladreppur district have called for a different route, route R, which goes through the town. The newly approved route is the Þ-H route which goes through Teigsskógur forest.

The matter has been covered previously by Iceland Review, as the road project has been stuck in the pipes for years. It is part of a large project to revamp the road system in the Westfjords, led by the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

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Three proposals were made at the meeting. A proposal put forth by Árný Huld Haralsdóttir was accepted with three votes while two council members rejected the proposal. Árný proposed the continuation of the general zoning plan of the area, and to go through with the proposed Þ-H road. Karl Kristjánsson proposal for opting for route R, through Reykhólar, was not voted on.

Árný Huld stated that the district does not have a real choice in the matter as the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has effectively taken planning powers away from the local council.

Ingimar Ingimarsson, chairman of the local council, had proposed that the decision be postponed further and that local residents should vote on the matter. His proposal was rejected by three votes to one, while one council member abstained from the vote. Árný Huld was one of the threes who rejected the proposal, stating that she believed the will of the people and the local council is the same.

Bergþóra Þorkelsdóttir, director of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, states that the route through Teigsskógur is the shortest, cheapest, and safest option of those available. She rejects the notion that the local council had no other options, and that they were effectively robbed of their power as the planning authority in the area. “I’m sorry that they experience the matter like this. It’s our role to suggest a route and that it is well grounded. We have made every effort to offer information, and summarize them in a usable form which [the council] could work on,” Bergþóra said.
Route R, through Reykhólar, had never gone through an environmental impact assessment, a decision which was taken in collaboration with members of last term’s local council.

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