A 7.9 km (4.9 mi) long tunnel, named Norðfjarðargöng, opened yesterday between Neskaupstaður and Eskifjörður in East Iceland, replacing a difficult mountain road around Oddskarð.
The tunnel has been long awaited by residents of East Iceland, many of whom have had to rely on important services in other towns. During winter, for example, roads have had to be closed multiple times due to the weather.
The opening of Norðfjarðargöng was celebrated yesterday by nearby residents, who were quite happy with the new tunnel. Among them is Kristín Hávarðardóttir. “The people celebrating with us today are from many different places. I know that we have residents from Djúpivogur, as well as North Iceland. Everyone’s waited for such a long time. It’s a breakthrough.”
According to Kristín, the tunnel makes everything safer. “One of the biggest reasons why people want this tunnel is the hospital in Neskaupsstaður. I know of examples when an ambulance has had a paramedic in front of it continually clearing snow away from the road. A trip that could’ve taken 7-8 hours shouldn’t be longer than an hour now.”
The total cost of the Norðfjarðargöng tunnel, which began construction in 2013, is 14.3 billion ISK ($137 million).