Snow-Covered Road in East Iceland Takes Four Days to Clear For the Summer Skip to content

Snow-Covered Road in East Iceland Takes Four Days to Clear For the Summer

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Vegagerðin.

Summer may have officially started in Iceland on April 23, but you definitely couldn’t tell from the weather in Mjóifjörður, East Iceland, where authorities just spent four days digging a traversable roadway through snow walls of up to five meters [16 ft] in height. RÚV reports that the road into the village there has been more or less closed since October.

Photo courtesy of Vegagerðin

Fourteen people live in Brekkuþorp in Mjóifjörður year-round (up to 40 during the summer), and the village has its own church, school, tourist office, post service, and coffeehouse. Fishing and aquaculture are also local industries. There is only one road into the fjord, however, and given the immense amount of snowfall that it regularly receives, it is only possible to reach the village by sea during the winter.

“We started to dig out [the road] last Friday,” remarked Ari B. Guðmundsson, chief engineer at the Reyðarfjörður branch of the Icelandic Road Administration last Wednesday. “We continued on Monday and around the middle of today, Wednesday, we’d paved a narrow [one-way] path with lay-bys the whole way.”

Photo courtesy of Vegagerðin

The Road Administration has ploughed the road twice since the beginning October: once in mid-October in order to allow Neyðarlínan, the company that manages Iceland’s emergency number [112] to lay fibre optic cables into the fjord, and then again at the end of November so that the equipment could be transported back out of the village.

Snowfall on the roadway has been unusually plentiful in recent years, and considerably more than was once typical. For the time being, only 4×4 vehicles should attempt to use the road, although smaller cars will be allowed after the weekend. The Road Administration will be using snow blowers over the weekend to widen the road for easier passage.

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