Residents of the East Fjords closed Ring Road 1 in Berufjörður with 60 vehicles yesterday to protest the postponement of road improvements, RÚV reports. They call the condition of the bumpy gravel road unacceptable and threaten further closures until promises for a new road have been fulfilled.
The road is one of the projects scheduled for this year which have been postponed. This part of the Ring Road sees substantial tourist traffic in summer and is the only part of the Ring Road that remains unpaved. One of the protesters, farmer Berglind Häsler, remarked, “This is unacceptable, to miscalculate by ISK 10 billion is not acceptable work methods. This was promised. People have been waiting for this road for decades, and now we’ve had it!”
The ISK 10 billion (USD 93 million, EUR 88 million) is the amount by which this year’s budget for transport and road improvements was reduced on Friday by Minister of Transport and Local Government Jón Gunnarsson. Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament had unanimously approved a four-year budget plan for such projects right before the October parliamentary election.
Stefán Eðvarð Stefánsson, resident of Breiðdalsvík, commented, “This road is long since outdated… About half a month ago, we were traveling here and then the holes were about 15 cm [6 in] deep.”
The road remained closed for an hour and a half yesterday. Berglind stated, “The traffic here in summer is very heavy, and it’s only a question of time when a serious accident occurs here.”