The bridge construction team of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has completed the construction of a new walking bridge over Jökulsá í Lóni River. The old was destroyed in a storm during the turn of the year. The completion of the new bridge was a priority for the Road and Coastal Administration as it is important for travellers and hikers in the Lónsöræfi region. The river is dangerous in the summertime when glacial meltwater increases the water flow. Those who try to wade the river close to Múlaskáli cabin can face problems.
Jökulsá í Lóni is a glacial river in South-East Iceland which flows out of the east side of Vatnajökull glacier down into the beautiful Lónsöræfi area. The first bridge in the area was built in 1953, crossing at Múlasel. A new 95-metre long bridge was constructed in 2004, becoming the longest walking bridge in Iceland when it opened. That bridge was destroyed in late 2018.
Lónsöræfi is a beautiful area between the Jökulsá í Lóni river and Vatnajökull glacier and is considered a great hike. There are numerous hiking lodges in the area. For more information on Lónsöræfi and the surrounding area, head to the website for Vatnajökull national park: https://www.vatnajokulsthjodgardur.is/en/areas/snaefell-lonsoraefi/interpretation-and-knowledge/about-lonsoraefi
The bridge construction team achieved a great feat as they had to transport a lot of instruments and materials on foot up the treacherous Illikambur ridge. The also had some difficulties with the wind while constructing the bridge, according to bridge smith Sveinn Þórðarson. The team started working on the bridge in May, completing it on June 21.
When asked what was the hardest part of the construction, Sveinn had this to say: “Probably the physical labour. We had a digging machine which could help with loading and unloading from vehicles. But when we had set up the bridge towers, the digger left, and we needed to do it all manually by hand. We had to carry a substantial amount of material, and our guys were completely spent after each day. We also had to return home two times due to severe winds which stopped all work. The walk to and from the car was difficult, especially in Illikambur.” It was not all doom and gloom, however. “We are somewhat used to spending many days and nights together in the working camps. But we didn’t have individual rooms in our lodge nor did we have any phone or internet connection. Therefore we started to play Trivial Pursuit while dinner was being prepared.” Sveinn says that the group enjoyed playing Trivial Pursuit so much that they have asked for the Road and Coastal Administration to purchase the board game so they can play it in the evening on other construction projects.