Travel agents in the municipality Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, have sent a declaration to Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson where they express great concern over the hole in the Ring Road created when a glacial flood from Mýrdalsjökull, possibly caused by a small eruption in the sub-glacial volcano Katla, destroyed the bridge across the river Múlakvísl on Friday night.
Mýrdalsjökull. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
They demand that a temporary bridge be worked on 24/7 and that practical solutions be found immediately in regards to small vehicles and emergency transport that cannot use highland routes to circumvent the Ring Road. They also ask that the highland route Fjallabaksleid nyrdri be improved as soon as possible, ruv.is reports.
Thórdur Tyrfingsson, the Icelandic Road Administration’s divisional manager of maintenance and service in south Iceland, said on RÚV’s radio program Morgunútvarpid this morning that equipment for bridge construction was transported to Múlakvísl last night.
Workers have been called back from their summer vacations to work on the temporary bridge; construction will begin today and they will work around the clock. However, it will still take some time before the Ring Road can be reopened, Tyrfingsson pointed out.
According to the most optimistic forecasts, the construction of a temporary bridge will take two to three weeks.
The travel agents suggest that meanwhile, equipment be acquired which can be used to ferry small vehicles across Múlakvísl. Also, drainage equipment could be placed in the river’s channel and road graders should make sure Fjallabaksleid nyrdri is passable all the time.
Travel agents in south Iceland say their situation is dire after the natural catastrophes their region has been subject to in the past year and so the Ring Road must reopen soon.
Click here to read an announcement in English and German about the situation.