Thousands of tourists arriving in Oslo this summer have been greeted by major construction projects, not least around the busiest and most popular spots in town. Neither City Hall Plaza (Rådhusplassen) nor the area around Oslo’s central train station have been particularly welcoming.
The biggest eyesores are found near City Hall, where city officials themselves have landed in trouble over renovation of one of the important piers extending into Oslo’s inner habour. This is the area known for its busy charter- and tour boat businesses, along with berthed bar and restaurant vessels, close to the main cruise terminal for ships unloading thousands of visitors every day.
In 2014, Oslo Harbour authorities decided to renovate the four 100-year-old Rådhusbryggene (City Hall Piers), located between Aker Brygge and the Akershus Fortress. The project was budgeted to cost around NOK 6.5 million, but newspaper Aftenposten reports that “unforeseen problems” have led to large budget overruns and lengthy delays.
“When the consultants began working on the project, they found that the piers’ technical infrastructure had exceeded its lifespan, and that their support beams in some areas were poor,” Trude Thingelstad, communications adviser for the Oslo Harbour Authority, wrote in an email to Aftenposten.
In 2015, the cost of the project more than tripled to NOK 22 million, so that the entire foundation for the pier could be replaced. That budget burst shortly thereafter and now it’s hit NOK 32 million for Pier 2 alone, which remains a construction zone and will so through the entire summer. Piers 1 and 4 are finished, while renovation of Pier 3 has been postponed.
City officials hope Pier 2 will be finished early this autumn. Meanwhile tourists passing over City Hall Plaza are also being greeted by more construction, of a new fish market near Pier 1 and the new National Museum behind the Nobel Peace Center.
On the other side of the fortress, Oslo’s eastern harbour at Bjørvika remains a busy and noisy construction zone as the city builds its new main library and the new Munch Museum. That’s created eyesores on both sides of the Opera House, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, but there things are now proceeding according to plan. Oslo’s nearby central train station is due for major expansion and renovation as well, but much of that remains on the drawing board.