New Speed Limit Signs by Bridges

Vala Hafstað

New temporary signs, showing a reduced speed limit, have been put up by the bridge over Núpsvötn in Skeiðarársandur, Southeast Iceland, RÚV reports. Plans are for new warning signs in Icelandic and English to be put up by 75 bridges in Iceland in the near future.

Speed limit signs by the Núpsvötn bridge were removed several days ago, because they had been damaged by weather.

New signs are now being made for some single-lane bridges in South Iceland. Plans are to install several signs by each bridge, according to Ágúst Bjartmarsson, manager  for the Icelandic Road Administration in Vík, South Iceland. Signs will be installed by Núpsvötn, Breiðbalakvísl, Fossálar, Hverfisfljót, Brunná and Jökulsá á Sólheimasandi.  A double-lane bridge is planned for Jökulsá á Sólheimasandi next year, and the same is true for Hverfisfjót and Brunná this summer.

The maximum speed limit for all single-lane bridges on Ring Road One will be reduced to 50 km/hr (30 mi/hr) as well as for highways used by more than 300 cars a day.

The decision to reduce the speed limit was made by the Icelandic Road Administration in January, following a fatal accident on the bridge over Núpsvötn on December 27, in which three people lost their lives. The vehicle they were in tumbled off the bridge, over a crash barrier.

According to Ágúst, 2,800 vehicles go past Vík, along Ring Road One, every day.

“What is especially true for [traffic in] South Iceland is that Icelanders make up a minority,” explains Ólafur Guðmundsson, a traffic safety expert, in an interview with mbl.is. “That means we need to look at the roads with a new set of eyes. There is a new group of customers who think differently than we do. We, for instance, know how to cross single-lane bridges.” 

Ólafur is in charge of reviewing traffic safety in South Iceland. In his opinion, the bridges are the weakest part of the road system in South Iceland. Last year, 18 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Iceland, eight of them in South Iceland. 

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