A new lighthouse will be built by Sæbraut in Reykjavík this winter, the first new lighthouse to be built in Iceland for more than 30 years, RÚV reports. The new lighthouse will replace an older one, situated on top of Reykjavík’s Technical College, now obscured from view from the ocean by tall buildings by the coastline.
“Even though many consider lighthouses unnecessary today, they’re anything but. They’re a safety precaution.” Sigurbjörg Árnadóttir, head of the Icelandic Lighthouse Association, told Rás 1 radio.
Gísli Gíslason, port director at Faxaflóahafnir, agrees that even though boats now have navigation technology, lighthouses are still needed, just like other traffic signals. There have been some discussions to cease lighthouse operations in rural areas but only due to changes in sailing routes.
Gísli also informed Rúv that when the buildings in Borgartún blocking the old lighthouse were planned, the consequences weren’t considered. “People weren’t careful and built buildings that were too tall, blocking the lighthouse. Parts of the signal were blocked and today, only one beam from the lighthouse is visible on this important route. The lighthouse is practically useless.”
Lighthouse laws actually state that buildings can’t block lighthouses and any such buildings can be torn down. Gísli states that Faxaflóahafnir will not be demanding that the law is enforced.
The new lighthouse will be situated on Sæbraut, close to the stately Höfði house, a Reykjavík landmark.