New tunnel snarls traffic

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The second of two new tunnels under Oslo’s inner harbor at Bjørvika opened this week, but instead of improving traffic flow, the opening led to massive congestion. That’s because it will still take awhile before all the on-ramps and off-ramps to the tunnels are open as well.

This highway at Bjørvika in Oslo is being replaced by the undersea tunnels to steer traffic away from the area. Massive traffic jams are resulting as the new system is phased in. PHOTO: Views and News

In the meantime, highway engineers have turned one of the Norwegian capital’s key commuter routes into what can only be described as a maze. Motorists trying to head west from the ferry terminals near the Akershus Fortress, for example, must first drive several kilometers to the east, and then inch their way through a new roundabout on the other side of the harbor before they can head west again.

Commuters simply have to get used to the new system (or lack thereof) and closely follow a new array of signs in order to reach their destinations. That’s also slowing down traffic.

“All major highways into Oslo had extra long traffic jams on Monday,” Rolf Rolstø of the state highway department admitted to newspaper Aftenposten. “It was especially bad on the E6 highway, both north and south of the city.”

The new highway system through and under central Oslo isn’t expected to be complete until 2012.

Views and News staff