Traffic peaks, E105 gets upgrade
Extensive road construction is underway along the cross-border highway linking Norway and Russia in the north.
Snow will soon cover the roads, but meanwhile the asphalt work goes on several places on E105 between Russia’s border to Norway and Murmansk. Crews are laying down new asphalt between Nikel and Zapolyarny and near the military settlements in Pechenga. The road once infamous for its bumpy ride is soon becoming a comfortable drive linking two countries with more and more cross-border contact.
Better road gives more traffic. August and September this year were the two busiest months ever if counting number of border crossers. In September alone, 21.914 border crossings took place at Storskog, Borisoglebsk border station, up near 6.000 from the same month last year. The statistics are posted at the portal of the Norwegian police in charge of immigration.
New shortcut saves 15 minutes
Teams of road constructers are working on both sides of the border, upgrading European highway E105. In Russia, the most substantial upgrade comes between the old border check point and the town of Zapolyarny. When the new road is ready in 2014, drivers from Murmansk to Kirkenes will no longer have to take the roundabout way via Nikel. With the shortcut, the route will save some 15 minutes.
Near the settlement of Pechenga, another shortcut with a new bridge over the river will be ready by next spring. The reconstruction work on road between Pechenga and the military settlement of Sputnik is now finished. The curves are gone and asphalt was laid down last month.
First tunnel on the route
On the Norwegian side, E105 is one of very few road projects in Finnmark County with designated funding over the state budget next year. The construction work from the border check-point towards the Elvenes settlement is in progress and is expected to be ready by autumn 2013.
Next stage is from Elvenes to the cross where E105 meets E6 at Hesseng. This work starts next year with a new bridge over the Pasvik River and a new tunnel under Elvenes aiming to direct the increasing traffic out of residential area.