Progress Made on New Þorskafjörður Bridge

westfjords bridge

Significant progress has been made on the new Þorskafjörður bridge since construction began on the project some two years ago. The bridge is part of the Vestfjarðarvegur, which will better connect many communities in this remote region of Iceland.

“We currently have about fifteen people here. Eight excavators, two bulldozers, a dump truck. You name it, whatever is needed. This is a massive project. For example, with the bridge itself, about four thousand cubic meters of concrete were used. 400 tons of steel, so it’s quite significant,” stated project manager Einar Valur Valgarðsson to RÚV.

Einar believes it’s safe to say that the project is nearing completion.

“Now we’re just continuing to connect the western side and finish the filling work,” he continued. “We’re also breaking up rocks.”

[visual-link-preview encoded=”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”]

 

The bridge will be important to the region, as it will shorten the route through Þorskafjörður by some 22 km [13 mi].

It will also increase access to the Barðaströnd region, one of Iceland’s most remote regions. This region is largely dependent on the ferry Baldur which sails across Breiðafjörður. However, the ferry has had technical difficulties in recent years.

The completed bridge will be 260 m in length and will allow travellers to drive through the southern Westfjords on an entirely paved road.

The Þorskafjörður project began in 2021 and has cost roughly ISK 2 billion [$14 million; €13 million]. The project is due for completion in July 2024, but according to project manager Einar, it could well be done before that.

 

Single-Lane Bridge Replaced with Double-Lane Bridge Near Kirkjubæjarklaustur

kirkjubæjarklaustur bridge iceland

Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Infrastructure, took part in the official opening of the new bridge over Jökulsá on the south coast of Iceland on Friday, October 21.

With the appearance of the new bridge, there will no longer be any one-way bridges between Reykjavík and Kirkjubæjarklaustur, a town on the south coast of Iceland. The improvement is a major one for the region, meaning that the drive east along the south coast will be all the more navigable.

Also present at the opening ceremony were Anton Kári Halldórsson, mayor of Rangárþing eystra, and Einar Freyr Elínarsn, mayor of Mýrdalshreppur municipality.

After the ceremony, minister Sigurður was the first to drive over the new bridge, inaugurating this latest addition to Iceland’s road system.

In his address at the ceremony, minister Sigurður outlined his ministry’s plans to get rid of single-lane bridges throughout the nation: “Today we move one step closer to that goal. Four years ago, 37 bridges on the Ring Road were single-lane, now there are 32, and there will be 31 when the new bridge opens today. And there is no let up in construction. I am hopeful that we will be able to reduce the number of them to 29 right before the end of the year, with new bridges openings on both Hverfisfljót and Núpsvötn later in the year. There are also three single-lane bridges that will be diverted around the Ring Road when traffic is allowed over the new bridge over the Hornafjörður River.”

According to information from the Road Administration, the new bridge is some 163 m [535 ft] long, with a total width of 10 m [33 ft]. The bridge it replaces was built in 1967, part of the construction of Iceland’s Ring Road.

Significant Rainfall in South Iceland May Flood Jökulsá River, Destroy Temporary Bridge

Bridge over Jökulsá in Sólheimasandur

Significant rainfall is expected over the next 24 hours around the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in South Iceland and may cause considerable flooding on the Jökulsá river. The Road and Coastal Administration will be monitoring conditions along the Ring Road and bridges in the vicinity, but it is uncertain whether the temporary bridge crossing the Jökulsá river where it runs through the Sólheimasandur flood plain will withstand rising waters. This per an announcement made by the Road and Coastal Administration on Tuesday night.

Construction is currently underway on a new bridge over the Jökulsá at Sólheimasandur and in the meantime, traffic is being diverted onto a temporary bridge. The administration is currently hard at work deepening the riverbed and making other preparations that will hopefully prevent major flooding. Nevertheless, the temporary bridge may not survive significant water rising. In the event that the temporary bridge becomes impassable, traffic east of Skógar will be redirected onto the new bridge and a system of alternating green lights will allow traffic to travel in both directions.

The Road and Coastal Administration notes that railing has not yet been finished along the new bridge so if it is necessary for travellers to use it, the speed limit will be temporarily reduced as a safety precaution. Drivers are asked to heed any such speed reductions.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for South Iceland and expects heavy rainfall in the entire region, but especially around Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers. Travellers whose journeys are expected to take them over unbridged rivers are advised to reconsider their travel plans at this time as these rivers may be very difficult to cross or completely impassable.

Updates about road conditions can be found on the Road and Coastal Administration website, here, or by calling 1777 to get the most up-to-date conditions at any time.

Fossvogur Bridge to Be Completed in 2024

Fossvogur bridge Borgarlína

The winning design of a new bridge that will connect Reykjavík and Kópavogur municipalities across the Fossvogur inlet has been revealed, RÚV reports. The bridge will be completed in 2024 and will not be open to private vehicles, rather will be exclusively dedicated to public transport vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians. The winning design was completed by Icelandic company Efla Consulting Engineers in collaboration with UK-based BEAM Architects.

“The winning proposal provides for a bridge with a rapid cycling lane, for those who want to cross quickly, there are lanes for public transport and the Borgarlína rapid bus transit line in the middle, and on the other side there is a path for those who want to walk or cycle more slowly,” explained Bryndís Friðriksdóttir, regional manager of capital area projects at the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.

The bridge, named Alda (e. Wave) is part of an ambitious 15-year transport plan for the Reykjavík capital area that includes the development of a rapid bus transit line, called Borgarlína. Alda is the first major construction project associated with the new transit system. “It’s part of what we call the first phase of Borgarlína, which is the Borgarlína route that runs from Hamraborg to the city centre and connects Reykjavík University, the University of Iceland, and the National Hospital, and then onward from the city centre along Suðurlandsbraut up to Ártúnshöfði so it’s a big part of getting Borgarlína and the new bus system up and running,” Bryndís stated.

The full cost of the bridge is yet to be determined, but Bryndís says the next step will be to examine costs it in detail. It will be funded by the transport agreement between the state and capital area municipalities. The Borgarlína website shows a video simulation of the completed bridge. Read more about the Borgarlína project.