Atle Gerhardsen was interviewed by The Nation and says that there are much more affordable options for avalanche prevention in Geiranger than building a tunnel, which is estimated to cost 892 million NOK

There is a lot of money to be saved on the Geiranger tunnel.
The tunnel can be exchanged for a system for warning and controlled blasting for snow removal. In this case, the price tag would be reduced by several hundred million kroner, according to an article in The Nation.

The newspaper The Nation is focused on monitoring and prevention of avalanches as an alternative to road tunnels (see the link at the bottom of the article). The newspaper has published several articles on roads with avalanche risks.

The article states that the new Geiranger tunnel, which two years ago was estimated to cost 700 million kroner, and now has been increased two times, most recently to 892 million, can be replaced by a system with avalanche monitoring, warning and preventative blasting of snow.

Cautus Geo’s CEO Atle Gerhardsen is one of the sources in the article. He has estimated for The Nation that the cost for a warning system would fall around 50 million kroner.

  • An exact price is impossible to determine without a precise calculation of this type of system. This we have not yet done. The approximation is based on experiences and some assumptions, says Gerhardsen.

The Nation writes that Cautus Geo delivers avalanche detection and prevention with radar measurement systems. Atle Gerhardsen says to the newspaper that he believes there is a lot of money to be saved if alternative solutions are chosen several places in the country.

  • If one looks at the cost of building and maintaining tunnels, these are large investments that often solve problems for relatively few users in small areas. In many cases, tunnels are the best and only option, but we believe there is a large potential to increase traffic safety in many places by using smart solutions with active avalanche management, he says to The Nation.

It is regardless a significant difference from 50 to the 900 million kroner that the Geiranger tunnel is estimated to cost. However, this winter, work to open up the tunnel entrances was started. The plan is to open the new 4,8 km tunnel in the fall of 2021.

The Nation writes that avalanche mitigation is planned for the entire country, and tunnels are typically the main choice.The commission for avalanche mitigation, which consists of nine county politicians, has estimated that avalanche mitigation will cost upwards of 50 billion kroner. This is based on The Norwegian Road Authority’s overview of medium to high priority roads that require avalanche-reducing measures.

Cautus Geo has implemented 3 avalanche warning projects:

  • Utladøla (north of Sogndal): radar-based solution with warning lights on the road
  • Lom (the east-west road towards Strynefjellet): radar-based solution with warning lights on the road
  • Tinnsjøen in Telemark: Geophone-based solution

The article in the Nation requires a subscription, but it is available at the previous link.