The two roads connect northern Finland with Skibotn in Troms and Kirkenes in Finnmark.
“Finland is through its chairmanship in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council working on the overall transport plan for the Barents Region, but certain transport corridors need to be dealt with already”, says Torbjørn Naimak, Director of the Northern Region of the Norwegian Public Road Administration.
Naimak and his Finnish counterpart Jaakko Ylinampa, Director of Lapland’s Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, have agreed to send two joint applications for EU funding to road improvements.
Improving the road between Ivalo and Kirkenes Norway and Finland will prepare a joint application to the EU program European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) for funding to improve the road from Kirkenes via Neiden to the Kaamanen intersection north of Ivalo. This road, known to locals as the Sevetti Road, is the shortest way from Kirkenes to Ivalo and further to Rovaniemi.
“The traffic on this road has increased considerably the last years, and we expect it to go even further up in the future”, Ylinampa says. In particular the number of heavy trucks, including foreign registered vehicles, has gone up.
The maximum amount of money the road authorities can hope to receive through the ENI project, is €4-5 million, so the two countries will have to add extra money to finish the project, Naimak says. The first round of applications in this new EU program will be approved this autumn, and if the Norwegian-Finnish project gets a positive answer, the first construction works can start during the summer of 2015.
From northern Finland to Tromsø The other border-crossing road the two countries want to improve, goes from Tromsø via Skibotn to the Palojoensuu intersection north of Muonio. The parties plan to apply for funding through the Northern Dimension for Transport and Logistics program and hope to have an answer to the application already in March-April.