The Night Watch

During the summer solstice, construction workers pave new roads in the night. It’s late June. The skies are clear. The yellow vests are grimy. Above the banks of lake Þingvallavatn, a crew of men are laying asphalt – working on a stretch of road maybe a kilometre long. As the dump trucks come and go, […]

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45 Years Later, All of Route 1 Paved

45 years after the creation of Route 1, the Icelandic Ring Road, the circle has been fully completed as all of the road is now paved. The last stretch of the ring road to be fully completed was in Berufjörður fjord in East Iceland, which had been a gravel stretch of the road up until now.

The road in Berufjörður is 4,9 kilometres long and shortens the total length of Route 1 by 3,9 kilometres. It has been open for traffic with the new conditions since August 1 but was officially opened by the Icelandic Road Administration on August 14. The project of replacing the gravel with paved roads has been in the works since the early 2000s. This stretch of Route 1 was one of the more controversial as the road could ill handle rain along with heavy traffic. Over a thousand cars use the road stretch every day, so conditions became especially bad on the old gravel road during rain.

The project of converting the gravel road into a paved one, along with a new bridge crossing the Berufjörður fjord, began in August 2017. W

Route 1
Route 1 was created in 1974 with the construction of bridges crossing Skeiðarársandur sands. The 1,322 kilometre long road is popular with travellers, as they can circle the whole of the island. For the first years, the majority of the ring road was gravel. Work began on replacing the gravel with gravel in 1978.
Three separate extensive pushes were made by the Iceland Road Association towards making the whole of Route 1 paved. The first part to be completed was between Reykjavík and Akureyri in 1994, while the next project was from Reykjavík to Höfn í Hornafirði in 2001. The final major undertaking was completed between Akureyri and Egilsstaðir in 2009. Since then, smaller parts of Route 1 have slowly been upgraded from gravel roads to paved.

Head to or call 1777 for road information during your travels in Iceland.