– I am quite worried if we do not get the road secured as soon as possible. The situation is serious and it is urgent to get started, says county road manager Ole Jan Tønnesen to TV 2.
Open = safe
On Thursday, the famous tourist route opened for the season. Tønnesen stands by the Stigfoss bridge and looks up towards the steep mountain section above what is called the Kjellstad line. It is here that geologists have uncovered at least 11 places with loose rock sections.
In May 2021, several large stones came rolling down towards the road in this very area of Trollstigen and hit a car. The result was a large hole in the hood of the vehicle.
– The side of the mountain directly opposite us here is secured. There are sections of rock that are in the process of loosening, so they can roll down as many as five road lines in the bends below us. What we fear is that large stones will fall and hit a car or a bus, says Tønnesen.
However, he is very clear about one thing:
– It is important to emphasize that we are not taking any chances in Trollstigen. When we opened it today, it is because it is safe to travel here. But we monitor and follow the situation closely, assures Tønnesen.
But the reason why he is now sounding the alarm about the need for immediate race protection of the national tourist route is that climate change will pose a threat to safety in the future.
– We know that there will be more precipitation and heavier precipitation as a result of the changes in climate. This means that we will have an increasing number of landslide incidents and we will have to close more often. In the worst case, a lack of protection will mean that we are left without a national tourism icon like the Trollstigen, says the county road manager.
The county municipality has allocated money for a preliminary project to secure the Trollstigen. According to Tønnesen, the solution is either to put parts of the road in a tunnel, or to clear the entire mountainside and secure it.
But they do not have the money to finance the race insurance, which will have a cost of several hundred million kroner.
– It is Trygve Slagsvold Vedum who is sitting on the money bag and if he is to see the Trollstigen in the future, he must bring us money, is the message from Kristin Sørheim.
She is head of the transport committee in Møre og Romsdal, and had the honor of opening the road today.
– We don’t want to put the road in a tunnel, because then it’s no longer a tourist attraction. We want other measures to secure in a better way, and that bill is a national responsibility. This can be done by ensuring that national tourist routes receive their own funding through the state race insurance funds, Sørheim believes.
She shares the concerns of the county road manager.
– We think it is very serious for the whole of Norway and the tourism industry if we have to close the Trollstigen, either part of the whole or the whole season because we don’t dare to let cars pass here. It is a national responsibility to help secure the national tourist routes and tourist icons, believes Sørheim, who is also county deputy mayor in Møre og Romsdal.
Tourists TV 2 spoke to in connection with the opening were not worried about driving the road.
– I trust that there is good control over what happens along the road here, and I am not worried about stone falls. We are looking forward to driving over the mountain on a motorbike, said Håvar Thommasen, who had driven from Vadsø with his friend Jan Julius Onseng.
Tags: Ole Jan worried landslides Trollstigen-