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Trying to divert lava with earth banks

17.05.2021 - 11:25
Mynd: RÚV / Hólmfríður Dagný Friðjónsd
Work is well underway to build a protective wall to try and divert lava from the Geldingadalir volcano and hopefully protect the Suðurstrandarvegur road. The civil engineer in charge of the project, Ari Guðmundsson, says earthworks will be completed today and that the total cost is less than ten million krónur.

The video above, by RÚV cameraman Þór Ægisson, shows work underway on Saturday, right in front of the advancing lava field. 

By yesterday evening, the western earth bank was complete and the eastern one had reached a height of two metres. It will be four metres tall when finished. “It has gone really well. Contractors started working again this morning and are working on the eastern wall,” Ari says. 

The project is a preventative measure, to attempt to stop the lava advancing down Nátthagi, from where it would be a few short kilometres to the road. 

When the eruption started this March, preparations were made for closing the road if lava ever approached. The Reykjanes peninsula and the town of Grindavík are also served by Reykjanesbraut in the north, and would not be cut off is Suðurstrandarvegur closed. The estimated cost of the works, at under ten million krónur, was considered a low enough sum to try. Time will tell if the earthworks hold and the lava can be diverted away from the road. 

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