Airport Train Still a Possibility

Vala Hafstað

Plans to build a tunnel and tracks for a train that would connect Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík are still under consideration, Morgunblaðið reports. The project, dubbed Lava Express, is being prepared by a development company called Fluglestin þróunarfélag, a partnership between Landsbankinn bank, EFLA engineering firm, the development company Kadeco, Per Aarsleff construction engineering company, RRV consulting and others. 

The tracks are expected to be 49 km long, 14 km of which will be underground.

Runólfur Ágústsson, CEO of Fluglestin tells Morgunblaðið that work on the project could start as early as 2022. He states that WOW Air’s bankruptcy will not affect the plan in the long term. All municipalities affected, except for Hafnarfjörður, have already approved a cooperation agreement with regard to zoning. A meeting with the mayor of Hafnarfjörður has been scheduled. “The project hinges on such an agreement being reached,” Runólfur states. Once Hafnarfjörður has approved the contract, planning can go ahead.

The largest cost factor, Runólfur explains, involves research in the metropolitan area, drilling to explore strata, or rock layers, before the tunnel can be dug. He reports that simultaneously, an environmental assessment must be made, which is a two-year process. Finally, a preliminary design must be prepared before the project can be bid out.

The project must then be financed and a tunnel dug from Hafnarfjörður, by Straumsvík, to the BSÍ bus terminal in Reykjavík. The tracks from Straumsvík to Keflavík International Airport will be above ground.

Provided that financing of the research phase goes well, work on the project could begin in 2022, and the work itself would take three years. Runólfur admits that right now, conditions for financing may not be optimal, but he hopes they will soon improve.

The project is expected to cost up to a billion Euros, with 75-80 percent of the financing coming from abroad. 

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