From Iceland — Plans To Build Highway Over Lava Field Unchanged

The municipal council of Garðarbær and the Public Roads Administration have decided to continue with their plans to re-build Álftanesvegur highway over Gálgahraun lava field after being advised last month by the Minister of Interior to review their project in light of environmental concerns, RÚV reports.
Last month, the outgoing Minister of Interior, Ögmundur Jónasson recommended that the plans for re-building Álftanesvegur highway be reviewed and that more environmentally sound solutions be examined. While the municipal council of Garðarbær and the Public Roads Administration agreed to a review, they released a new statement yesterday confirming the initial re-construction plans.
The review board stated that it found no reason for changing the plans, which they claimed were substantiated by the establishment of Prýðahverfi, a new neighbourhood consisting of 15 houses whose residents have complained of disturbance and dangers of the current Álftanesvegur road. The board also said it feared being subject to liability payments if construction plans were further delayed.
Gunnsteinn Ólafsson, a board member of Hraunavinir (Friends of Lava), told RÚV that the decision was both disappointing and against the law as Gálgahraun lava field is registered as a state-protected natural area.
In a related article published on his homepage yesterday, environmentalist Andri Snær Magnason argued that the new highway was neither fiscally nor environmentally viable and showed how the concerns of Prýðahverfi residents could be addressed through minor modifications of the current Álftanesvegur road.
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