New Bridge Ready Soon, River Crossing Halted for Now Skip to content

New Bridge Ready Soon, River Crossing Halted for Now

The construction of a temporary bridge across the river Múlakvísl in south Iceland is going well and it might even be completed this weekend. Because of the construction work, the transport across the river will shut down temporarily later today but resume in the evening. A glacial flood from Mýrdalsjökull destroyed the previous bridge one week ago, damaging the Ring Road. Update: The bridge is now open for traffic (since noon, July 16). The Ring Road is open.

mulakvisl-bridge_mbl-video

A screenshot of a video on mbl.is of the bridge construction and river transport.

In the past few days, travelers have been transported across the river on specialized buses under rather adventurous circumstances, as can be seen on mbl.is.

The river transport is going well; yesterday 300 cars were taken across the river on trucks and approximately 700 people on buses. In the afternoon, queues had been eliminated, as stated in a status report from the Icelandic Civil Protection Department.

Traffic is now increasing to the east. The search and rescue association ICE-SAR is monitoring the river transport and emergency plans have been made for the region, both in case of a sudden rise in the water level in Múlakvísl and if accidents should occur.

Shelters and restroom facilities have been established on both river banks.

According to mbl.is, two groups of construction workers are involved in the project. Once completed, the bridge will be 156 meters long.

Ten to 12-meter-long electricity poles are being placed deep into the river’s floor to support the bridge. The distance between the river’s surface and the steel beams that form the bridge is around 2.5 meters.

The bridge is being built on fill which will be removed once it is finished. The natural flow of the river underneath the bridge will be restored today.

However, the Icelandic Road Administration estimates that the bridge will not open to traffic until mid-next week. The construction of a permanent bridge across Múlakvísl has also commenced.

The Civil Protection Department just issued the following statement:

“The ferry for passengers and cars across Múlakvísl will be closed from 17:00-21:00 today, Friday, due to work on the temporary bridge. The crossing will continue around 21:00 or as soon as the Road Administration has secured the river crossing.”

Instead of the river transport, travelers between Kirkjubaejarklaustur and Vík in south Iceland who are driving 4×4 vehicles can take the highland route Fjallabaksleid nyrdri (F208), which has recently been bulldozed.

The speed limit is 60 kilometers per hour and five kilometers per hour when driving across unbridged rivers.

The routes over Dómadalur and Hrauneyjar, two other highland routes that circumvent the Ring Road, are passable on larger 4×4 vehicles.

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ESA

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