The vital E6 highway in Northern Norway, the only road that connects the counties of Troms and Finnmark, reopened at Sørkjosen on Tuesday after a landslide washed much of it away over the weekend. Traffic still faces slow-going but at least a 700-kilometer detour can now be avoided.
Highway department crews had scrambled to repair the damage so that at least some vehicular traffic could get through. “I’m proud of the effort that was made after the landslide,” Torbjørn Naimak, regional chief for state highway department Statens vegvesen, told state broadcaster NRK as he thanked all involved.
Most grateful were the motorists who now don’t have to drive back east to Alta, then south into Finland and northwest again into Norway, a detour of some 700 kilometers. Truck drivers hauling goods between eastern Finnmark and the rest of Norway were especially relieved.
Crews had been working round-the-clock since early Sunday and Rigmor Thorsteinsen of Statens Vegvesen in Troms said vehicles were only being allowed through in small groups, assisted by an official lead car. The coastal road was assured of being safe, however, and work will continue to make more permanent repairs while other crews continue work on a nearby tunnel. Some suspect that work set off the landslide but highway officials said it was too early to make any conclusions.