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Almannaskarðsgöng is a 1312m (roughly 1.3km) tunnel along Route 1, located near Höfn (Hornafjörður) in the eastern region of Iceland. The tunnel pushes through 1150m of rock and 162m of concrete. The tunnel is two lanes wide with three passing spots for emergency traffic.

History

Icelandic winter has always made travelling the roads of Iceland’s countryside a daunting and, very often, time-consuming experience. Regular heavy snowfall in the Almannaskarð region was seriously impeding traffic to and from east Iceland, with roads often having to be shut down for months, justifying the need to construct a new means of travelling across the region.

In March 2004, construction began and was completed in October 2004, long before completion of the operation had been estimated. The tunnel was officially opened to the public on June 24, 2005, by the former minister of communications, and now President of the Alþingi, Sturla Böðvarsson. Roads leading to and from the tunnel are blessed with truly scenic views, with outlooks over the ocean on one side, and steep mountains to the other. 

Today

The Almannaskarðsgöng tunnel now passes through the Almannaskarð pass, between the beautiful fjords of Lón and Hornafjörður. The Almannaskarð pass is still accessible to vehicles throughout the summer months, though the south-west ramp is now closed to the public. On the south-west side of the tunnel, there is a picnic area and viewing spot, the perfect stop for some respite before continuing travel across the island. 

The tunnel runs through 1,150 metres of solid rock and some 162 metres of concrete portals, bringing the total length to 1312 metres. The road is two lanes wide, although there are three passing places in the tunnel for emergency traffic. The southern tunnel entrance is located at 39 metres above sea level whilst the northern tunnel entrance is 82 m high, making the incline of the tunnel 4.6%.

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