The Icelandic Maritime Administration presented ideas on Monday on how to improve the new harbor for the Westman Islands ferry Herjólfur in Landeyjahöfn, south Iceland. The ideas include moving the river channel of Markarfljót by two kilometers, which has raised considerable controversy.
From the opening of Landeyjahöfn. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The website of the Maritime Administration lists suggestions in three parts: Firstly, continued deepening of the harbor, secondly, using a special plough to remove matter from the harbor’s opening, and thirdly, to construct a barrier to move Markarfljót eastward by two kilometers to prevent the river from carrying sand and volcanic matter into the harbor.
The estimated cost for carrying these suggestions through is ISK 180 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.2 million), which is the same amount as stated in the additional budget bill for 2010. According to the Maritime Administration, the suggestions have been presented to Minister of Transport Ögmundur Jónasson who expressed his content with them.
However, the Maritime Administration’s announcement came as a surprise to many parties of interest. The Ministry for the Environment had not been contacted, and neither had landowners nor the Icelandic National Planning Agency, as reported on eyjan.is.
According to the Planning Agency’s estimate, the relocation of the Markarfljót river channel must be reported to the agency and it will take up to four weeks to decide whether an environmental impact assessment is necessary.
Jónasson explained to mbl.is, that he had agreed to the Maritime Administration’s suggestions, provided that the necessary permits will be obtained.
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