Norway’s Conservatives-led government has cleared the way for long-awaited expansion of the busy E18 highway west of Oslo. After years of negotiations between neighboring Oslo and Bærum, the state removed the last obstacle that involves rezoning of land adjacent to the highway from Lysaker on the Oslo-Bærum border to Ramstadsletta in Bærum.
While the City of Oslo’s former Conservatives-led government promoted the highway project, to relieve decades of traffic delays during the commuter rush hours, the new Labour-led Oslo government has protested it on the grounds it will bring more vehicular traffic into the capital. Oslo’s Labour-Greens coalition is trying to make Oslo as vehicle-unfriendly as possible, by removing street parking, installing bike lanes, restricting use of diesel-driven cars and working to ban private cars altogether downtown.
Oslo’s current leaders’ goal is cleaner air and lower carbon emissions and they’re not giving up last-ditch efforts to block the E18 expansion. If Norway elects a Labour-led state government on Monday, city government leader Raymond Johansen suggested it would be able to overturn the current state government’s decision, blocking the funding needed to carry out the highway improvement project.