It took more than 20 years for Oslo-area politicians to finally agree on building a long-awaited metro line to the rapidly redeveloping Fornebu area west of downtown. Now the project’s future is up in the air, because of huge budget overruns and lengthy delays, two years after construction finally began.
The line known as Fornebubanen is supposed to be 8.2 kilometers long and connect to the metro system’s hub at Majorstuen in Oslo, with six underground stops including Lysaker, Vækerø and Skøyen. All are characterized by rapidly growing housing and commercial development and currently served mostly by bus or private cars.
Fornebubanen was supposed to be finished in 2027 but now that’s been extended to 2029 and costs have soared, from NOK 18.5 billion when approved by the Oslo City Council in 2018 to at least NOK 23.2 billion (USD 2.6 billion) now. There’s been lots of quarreling along the way between politicians in Oslo and the neighbouring county of Akershus, with critics citing poor control and a lack of experience within the public agency set up to manage the project.
Oslo politicians responsible for the huge overrun claim they want the project to keep rolling, but ominous calls are going out to shorten its route to end at Lysaker, dramatically raise the road tolls contributing to its financing, cut other transport projects or stop work on Fornebubanen entirely. The Socialist Left Party (SV) wants much more funding from the state. Emergency meetings are planned throughout the spring.