Russia works seven days a week with new highway to the border, but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration today announced that the new highway on their side will not open before 2017.
It is a juridical process related to the contract for the new bridge to cross the Pasvik River outlet that delays the process.
The company first awarded the contract is now said by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration not to hold the right qualifications to build the bridge. The contract is for that reason given to Skanska, another company participating in the tender.
The bridge-building is delayed with a year, so the 270 million Norwegian kroner (€33,2 million) road project will not be opened before 2017, a year later than first planned.
The Public Road Administration says all other parts of the road construction, including a new tunnel is on schedule and will be ready by 2016, but can’t be opened because the bridge is not there.
Years of construction
Today’s road is of bad quality and goes through a residential area. The old bridge is too narrow for two trucks to meet.
Construction work on the new highway both on the Norwegian and Russian side of the border has been going on for years already, and parts are already opened; in 2013 from the Russian town of Zapolyarny towards Gulfstream and on the Norwegian side, from the border to the Pasvik River.
A total of 3,6 billion roubles (€46 million) of Russian federal money will be spent on building the new road from the border-zone check-point towards the actual Russian check-point at Borisoglebsk. Construction work goes on seven days a week.
The road now being upgraded to highway standards in the Norwegian, Russian borderland is part of E105, Europe’s longest north-south highway. Starting at Hesseng outside Kirkenes, the E105 goes all the way south to Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula by the Black Sea.
Read also: New bridge for cooperation, not explosives.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: The geometries of Arctic all-weather road construction, Blog by Mia Bennett
Norway: A railroad of dreams and nightmares across Arctic Norway, Blog by Mia Bennett
Russia: Murmansk, Russia: Transport hub trouble, again, Barents Observer
United States: Time to ramp up Arctic infrastructure in the U.S., Analysis: Sourabh Gupta & Dr. Ashok K. Roy