Published on : Monday, May 31, 2021
The ill-effect of mass tourism on the stunning yet delicate Norway’s landscape and mountain road is set to be permanently closed to all vehicles. Stalheimskleiva road is a 170-year-old serpentine mountain way mainly used by tourists traveling the flagship Norway in a Nutshell tour from Fjord Tours. It’s known to be the steepest road in Norway, Stalheimskleiva links the charming Nærøy Valley with the UNESCO World Heritage listed Nærøyfjord to Voss, where tourists continue their journey on the equally famous Bergen line railway.
However, heavy traffic in this region has taken heavy toll on the road which was never constructed for such reasons.
Temporary stop not quite useful!
In the summer of 2020, due to a landslide, the road was closed. This made the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to put a temporary prohibition on heavy vehicles like the tourist buses as work was under progress. Even though, renovation is limited as the road is part of a heritage area.
As the formal decision is awaiting on the results of a geotechnical report, Svenn Egil Finden from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has explained that the temporary ban might not serve the purpose: “Stalheimskleiva will not be open for any vehicles. We have seen that even light minibuses and small private cars put too much of a strain on the road system.”
The mile-long road was built in the 19th century. It has 13 hairpin bends and has attracted tourists for long time from all over Europe. Fjord Tours CEO Kristian Jørgensen have accepted to NRK that Stalheimskleiva has always been an “exciting part of the experience” and it would detract from the tourist offer in the future, but that safety “must come first.”