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"Delay trips on Route 1 in West and Northwest Iceland"

16.12.2020 - 10:14
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Sigþór Gíslason
Vegagerðin (the Road and Coastal Administration) is encouraging people to postpone journeys on Route 1 in the west and northwest of the country due to significant amounts of tar bleeding from the road surface and causing considerable danger and damage to vehicles. Clumps of tar collect and harden on the tyres of passing vehicles, making driving treacherous. Chunks fly off and have been causing some serious damage.

Northwest Iceland police chief Stefán Vagn Stefánsson says many reports of damage have been received and that he expects their number to multiply quickly in the next few days. “We didn’t realise at first just how bad it was. The police quickly started receiving notifications about the situation,” Stefán Vagn says.

"It turned out to be true that the road was in the worst possible condition. I can say that I went there yesterday. Of course, I drive a lot and I have never seen the road in the condition it was in. In actual fact, a very serious hazard had occurred there in these conditions.” 

He explains that clumps of tar have appeared on the road surface that then stick to tyres, in wheel arches and rims, so that the car’s handling becomes unpredictable. As well as this, the tar chunks are thrown up at other vehicles. 

Vegagerðin is asking people to avoid driving on Route 1 along the very significant stretch between Borgarnes and Akureyri for the time being. At least until tomorrow, and to follow conditions on  

Those who cannot postpone are reminded to pay close attention to the conditions and drive carefully as always. Freight companies have been asked to lower the tyre pressures of their lorries and other heavy vehicles to help spread the weight. 

Tar bleeding can occur when there is a significant and sustained warming of weather conditions. After much colder than average conditions two weeks ago, most of Iceland is this week experiencing much warmer temperatures. Lowland areas of West Iceland have been seeing temperatures topping 10°C this week, and the warm spell is forecast to continue over Christmas week. The temperature was closer to -10°C at times during the first week of this month.

Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Vilhjálmur Þór Guðmundsson - RÚV
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Vilhjálmur Þór Guðmundsson - RÚV
Alexander Elliott
Project manager