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City Proposes Tunnel Through Downtown Reykjavík

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City Proposes Tunnel Through Downtown Reykjavík

Traffic.

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

A new proposal put forth by the city would see the busy Miklabraut highway turned into an underground traffic tunnel, Vísir reports. Miklabraut is a busy highway that runs through the center of some of Reykjavík’s most populous and most quickly expanding neighborhoods. It's suggested that a traffic tunnel there would yield a number of benefits, such as decreasing congestion and freeing up space for several thousand new apartments to be built. Preliminary estimates suggest that the proposal would cost somewhere in the range of ISK 2 billion [$200,400,000].

The tunnel would run just under 1.5 kilometers, from Kringlumýrarbraut, near the Kringlan shopping mall, to Snorrabraut, near the National and University Hospital. It’s the city’s hope that in addition to creating space for much-needed apartment buildings to be constructed, diverting traffic on this busy stretch of road into an underground tunnel would also reduce both noise and air pollution. Instead, according to an informational video outlining the proposal, the former highway will become, aboveground, “a laid-back and people-friendly streetscape” that is more accommodating of pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation, although the latter could potentially be diverted through the tunnel as well.

The proposal was to be presented on Thursday night at a public meeting for the residents of the Hlíðar neighborhood. Hliðar is currently subdivided by Miklabraut and would be most significantly affected by the construction of a new tunnel and apartment buildings.

The City of Reykjavík has produced an informational video (in Icelandic) which outlines the proposal. Watch it here.

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