Westfjords Municipality to Discuss Proposed Road With Minister Skip to content
Different proposals for a new road in the South Westfjords.
Photo: Different proposals for a new road in the South Westfjords..

Westfjords Municipality to Discuss Proposed Road With Minister

The local council of Reykhólahreppur will likely delay voting between two routes for a new road through Gufudalssveit in the South Westfjords. Council chairman Ingimar Ingimarsson stated on RÚV morning radio today that the municipality would prefer to meet with the Minister of Transport before they make a decision on the controversial issue. The construction of a new road in the region has been stuck in the planning stages for years.

Route disagreement

As the road crosses Reykhólahreppur, its local council has a say in where exactly it will lie. A report commissioned by the council concluded that the so-called “Route R,” through Reykhólar, is superior to the so-called “Route Þ-H” through Teigsskógur, which the Road and Coastal Administration backs. The government’s transportation bill allocates funding for Route Þ-H, projected to be less expensive than Route R. If Reykhólarhreppur votes for Route Þ-H, it is unclear how the construction will be funded.

Ingimar stated he has been requesting a meeting with the Transportation Minister to discuss the issue for months. The meeting has been scheduled for the near future, and thus the council considers it best to postpone voting between routes until after the meeting takes place. The council chairman says he would like to clarify which party has the authority to determine how the project will be funded. “We don’t know that, naturally. The Road and Coastal Administration and many in the Parliamentary Transport Committee have made it clear that they consider that the funding which is now in the [four-year transport plan] is only intended for Route Þ-H. We ask then why we have this planning authority if no decision is taken except that which the Road and Coastal Administration wants. We need to have that clarified by the Minister of Transport.

The Þ-H Route has yet to be approved by the National Planning Agency, which has previously rejected a similar proposal. Ingimar says he expects the agency to reject Route Þ-H, which will bring the project back to square one, “and then what?” he asks.

Residents protest

The district of Reykhólahreppur has a population of around 260, and their opinions appear to be divided on the issue. The district’s mayor was given a petition opposing Route R signed by 95 individuals who reside in the area or own property or operate businesses in the region. Around 1,300 residents live in the regions of Vesturbyggð and Tálknafjarðarhreppur, west of the proposed road. “We don’t have paved roads in either direction, neither north nor south, and our experience is a bit like we’re being held hostage,” Bjarnveig Guðbrandsdóttir, chairperson of the local council of Tálknafjarðarhreppur, has stated.

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