The new double road from the capital, Reykjavík, to towns in the South is not designed with guard rails dividing traffic lanes. The new double road that is being designed by the Icelandic Road Administration between the towns of Hveragerdi and Selfoss does not have guard rails either, reports Fréttabladid.
The new roads are designed with a valley in between traffic lanes. This design was proven hazardous in an accident which happened shortly before Christmas on the road between Reykjavík and Hafnarfjördur. A car driving in one direction went off the road into the valley between the lanes and jumped onto a car driving in the opposite direction. Three people were killed in the accident.
Ólafur Kr. Gudmundsson, deputy chairman of FÍB, the Icelandic Car Owner’s Association, said that this kind of design had nothing to do with traffic security. “It heightens the risk. The distance between lanes is an improvement but the valley can work as a jump platform if cars cross it for any reason,” said Gudmundsson.
He pointed out that the road lying between Reykjavík and Keflavík, a road called Reykjanesbraut, is designed like that. “And sorry to say the new road to the South is being designed in the same way. Guard rails are the only proper solution, hence used by other nations to improve road security.
Gudmundsson claims the same can be applied to many of the roads which carry the heaviest traffic in the country. Guard rails need to be put in place on 50 – 60 kilometer stretches.
“It is hard to say but the accident that happened recently could only be the taste of things to come if nothing is done about this problem,” he said.
He said that after the Reykjanesbraut road had been doubled there were six incidents of cars crossing over the valley inbetween traffic lanes causing great danger to traffic coming the opposite way.
Guard rails cost 10 to 15 million ISK per kilometer according to the Icelandic Road Administration.
Ágúst Mogensen, the manager for the Investigating Committee of Road Accidents, has said that guard rails would most likely have prevented the accident mentioned above.
The installation of guard rails on roads is an important factor in the governmental plan of improving road security. A special investigation of the environment of roads and guard rails was started in 2007. A report from a group committee regarding road security states that bad road injuries and deaths could be lowered by 20 percent if the environment of roads was improved greatly.