Estimation of Westman Islands tunnel completed Skip to content

Estimation of Westman Islands tunnel completed

The engineering service Sigurdur Thoroddsen hf. (VTS) presented its cost estimate for a tunnel between the Westman Islands and the Landeyjar region in south Iceland this week, undertaken on behalf of the Icelandic Road Administration.

VTS concluded in a report that such a tunnel would be technically possible, but risky, and the construction would cost between ISK 50 and 80 billion (USD 833 million and 1.3 billion, EUR 605 million and 969 million).

According to the report, the next step is to undertake further geological and technical research, like investigating the layers of rocks north of Heimaey, the Westman Islands’ largest island, and the situation of the plane of sand in Landeyjar, to eliminate risk factors in the project.

Such research could cost up to ISK 275 million (USD 4.6 million, EUR 3.3 million).

The conclusion of the VTS report states: “It is a matter of opinion whether it can ever be justified to construct and operate such a long tunnel [18 km] deep underneath the ocean surface in a geologically active area, which the Westman Islands area certainly is.”

The volcano Eldfell on the Westman Islands, which had been considered inactive, unexpectedly erupted in 1973 so the islands’ inhabitants had to be temporarily evacuated to the mainland.

The government is currently discussing the recommendations of the VTS report.

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