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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Floods close rail lines, highways

UPDATED: Several counties in southeastern Norway went into crisis mode on Wednesday after heavy rains during the night led to flooding that forced closure of the Dovrebanen rail line between Hamar and Eidsvoll, the Kongsvinger line into Oslo and the busy E6 highway at Espa. The Kongsvinger line later reopened, but the E6, the major road link between Oslo, the Mjøsa region around Hamar and points north was later closed in other areas as well, disrupting a key transport route.

Not much traffic on the foggy E6 highway at Minnesund, after it was blocked by flooding further north. PHOTO: Statens Vegvesen's webcamera
Not much traffic on the foggy E6 highway at Minnesund Wednesday morning, after it was blocked by flooding further north. PHOTO: Statens Vegvesen’s webcamera

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the E6 was also closed between Weensvangen and Minnesund, which is the main thoroughfare between the Oslo area and Hedmark and Oppland counties. Train traffic also rolled to a halt around Stange because of water over the railroad tracks.

“It would be a good day to work from home,” a spokesman for state railway NSB advised commuters listening to morning radio reports of flooded roads and railroad tracks. NSB was also having trouble providing alternative bus service, since vehicular traffic was hindered on flooded roads as well.

The only main, fairly reliable alternative route between the Oslo area and the Mjøsa region around Hamar and Lillehammer was the state Highway 4 to Gjøvik, but highway officials worried its capacity would be strained. Other detours were set up on secondary roads around Mjøsa, but they were also vulnerable to flooding.

As rain continued to fall on Wednesday, state officials boosted earlier flood warnings and said they could reach 50-year levels. The rain combined with rapidly melting snow and ice in the mountains is simply generating far more gushing water than local rivers and creeks can handle.

Major flood warnings were posted in Oppland, Buskerud, Telemark and Hedmark counties, with flooding occurring in Akershus as well. The area around Svingen station at Fetsund in Akershus was also under water Wednesday morning.

NRK reported an earthslide north of Lillehammer later in the morning that resulted in mud and rocks on the E6 highway there, but it remained passable as crews worked to remove the rubble. Traffic was moving slowly through the area.

For more photos and video of the flooding from NRK, click here.

(Story will be updated.)

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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