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Will Road Closure Pave Way for Funding?

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Will Road Closure Pave Way for Funding?

Berufjörður, road closed.

The road closure in Berufjörður on Sunday. Photo: Screenshot from RÚV.

Residents of the East Fjords are angry over the announcement Friday by Minister of Transport and Local Government Jón Gunnarsson to postpone improvements of the bumpy part of the Ring Road in Berufjörður fjord. The protesters closed the road Sunday and plan to do so again today between 5 and 7 pm.

Farmer Berglind Häsler, a spokesperson for the group, told RÚV, “I’m very hopeful that this [decision to postpone road improvements] will be withdrawn and that they find a way to keep their big promises.”

This year’s budget for transport and road improvements was reduced on Friday by ISK 10 billion (USD 93 million, EUR 88 million) by the Minister of Transport, citing a lack of funds. Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament had unanimously approved a four-year budget plan for such projects right before the October parliamentary election.

The decision to cut the funding has caused outrage in many parts of the country where road improvements had been promised.

Berglind stated that the condition of the bumpy road is such that cars are damaged and safety compromised. The road resembles what roads were like in Iceland in the middle of the 20th century, she added. It’s the only part of the Ring Road that remains unpaved.

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