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Old August 1st, 2016, 10:42 PM   #4121
ChrisZwolle
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Riksvei 5 Sogndal - Fjærland

A couple of photos of Riksvei 5 from Sogndal to the Frudal Tunnel. A very scenic stretch of road.


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-1 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-3 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-4 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-5 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-6 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-7 by European Roads, on Flickr


Riksvei 5 Sogndal-8 by European Roads, on Flickr
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Old August 1st, 2016, 10:53 PM   #4122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElviS77 View Post
Here comes day two of my trip, probably the most exciting part.
You seem to have followed a few of my favourite paths...

Quote:
The Suldal is nice up to lake Suldal, the road remains twisty and narrow (1+ to 2- lanes). From there, it gets really cool. The road - built in the 70s along the north shore of the lake - runs through a landscape with almost vertical cliff faces all around. Of course, there are a few tunnels, but it rapidly turned into one of my favourite Norwegian drives.
Are the tunnels still in their original shape, narrow and tight? At least the latest map for the heavy traffic shows eight tunnels with height limits of 4.30-4.40 meters. However, the map does not categorize the road as difficult.



Quote:
It's not really a scary road, even though the Seljestad gorge might be a little bit brutal to some, but it's really beautiful up there - even in poor weather. The road is single lane, but there's not much traffic, so you won't care. Do not bring a caravan, though!
The old road is an interesting showcase to the history of road construction. It is possible to see the ancient hairpins and a part the existing tunnel road at the same time:



Quote:
Eventually, I hit the rv 13 again, and up to Voss the road has been improved recently and is a fairly good two-laner.
It is somewhat pity that the hairpin ascend over Skjervet has been replaced by a tunnel. Is the old road still passable?

Quote:
From Dale I took what I consider to be one of the most spectacular tourist routes there is - the fv 569. It runs along a fjord, the views are breathtaking, and the road is amazing: 30 kms of single-lane traffic, with narrow tunnels where you sometimes just have to assume no-one comes in the other direction...
Ahh. That one. It is almost possible to see rear lights of the own car in some curves.



Quote:
The final stretch of my day was 40 kms from there to the ferry at Oppedal which took me across the Sognefjord to Lavik. That road isn't really very interesting, simply because it has been improved significantly over the past couple of decades, meaning there are several tunnels and restricted views. It is a decent-to-good two-lane highway where one easily averages 80 km/h - unless there are too many lorries or caravans to deal with...
I drove that once in the late 1980's when it still was Rv14. Eikefettunnelen was complete, but the Masfjordtunnelen and Jernfjellstunnelen were not. Neither was Nordhordlandsbrua but there was a ferry connection from Steinestø to Knarvik. The road was a narrow 1-lane one and of ancient construction, thus quite scary, and a lot of longer than the current one. In that time, the southern end of the Sognefjord crossing was not in Oppedal but in Brekke.
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Old August 1st, 2016, 11:44 PM   #4123
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It is somewhat pity that the hairpin ascend over Skjervet has been replaced by a tunnel. Is the old road still passable?
Yeah, it's a nasjonal turistveg now so there is a fancy facility at the waterfall:

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Old August 2nd, 2016, 09:16 AM   #4124
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Yeah, it's a nasjonal turistveg now so there is a fancy facility at the waterfall:

Wow! That makes sightseeing much easier than earlier. The "riksvei grade" road did not have good space to make a break.
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 01:50 PM   #4125
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Are the tunnels still in their original shape, narrow and tight? At least the latest map for the heavy traffic shows eight tunnels with height limits of 4.30-4.40 meters. However, the map does not categorize the road as difficult.

Well, the tunnels along that part of rv 13 are like in the picture, "typical Norwegian" 2-lane tunnels, not at all difficult to negociate, but not state of the art either. The older parts of the road, between Sand and lake Suldal and lake Suldal and Røldal, are far worse, narrow and twisty, but not particularly difficult, even for lorries.

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Ahh. That one. It is almost possible to see rear lights of the own car in some curves.


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Originally Posted by MattiG View Post
I drove that once in the late 1980's when it still was Rv14. Eikefettunnelen was complete, but the Masfjordtunnelen and Jernfjellstunnelen were not. Neither was Nordhordlandsbrua but there was a ferry connection from Steinestø to Knarvik. The road was a narrow 1-lane one and of ancient construction, thus quite scary, and a lot of longer than the current one. In that time, the southern end of the Sognefjord crossing was not in Oppedal but in Brekke.
I did the exact same thing, apart from being a backseat driver (didn't get my licence until 91...). The road has simply been transformed over the past couple of decades, which tells quite a bit what difference political priorities: Stavanger-Trondheim along the E39 is almost bearable nowadays, not so 25 years ago...
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 03:03 PM   #4126
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Day three of my trip was slightly less spectacular than day two, but still really nice. Average speeds were up as well, on day two I had well over 7 hours of effective driving and covered 400 kms. Add to that the fact that the first 50 and last 50 kms were reasonably quick, averaging about 80 km/h, it tells you something about the rest of the day...

I began taking the E39 east and northwards from Lavik. Again, the road has been improved apart from a short leftover piece of road at Vadheim, so the drive was reasonably quick and the views of the Sognefjord was good... inbetween the tunnels, that is. This is actually the deepest part of Norway's deepest fjord, 1,308 metres at the deepest. One understands that a subsea tunnel is out of the question for the ferry-free E39...

At Sande (one of many Norwegian places with that name) I took the fv 610 towards Gaularfjell. It's a part of the National Tourist Route, which makes sense. It runs along a pretty valley with a nice lake, meadows, steep mountains... The road is quite narrow, single-lane in places, but it's not too much of a hassle, since there's virtually no traffic to speak of. I liked the road, even though it isn't spectacular like some of the others I've driven.

The Gaularfjell road itself is an old favourite, a classic switchback mountain road with fantastic views and not too scary alignment. It's a part of the now fv 13, a decent 1+/2- lane road on the west side of the mountain, more single-lane down the mountain side on the east side, then again decent quality when you reach the valley and eventually the fjord. The Balestrand area is another pearl, beautiful nature and pretty houses.

From there, at Dragsvik, I took the ferry to Hella. Remaining on the north side of the Sognefjord (the ferry crosses an arm of the fjord), my drive took me along the rv 55 towards Sogndal. The first part of the road is really pretty, but also pretty slow. Busy and narrow, filled up with tourist coaches, caravans, HGVs... At one point we were at a complete standstill for about 15 minutes. At first I was worried it was an accident, but leaving the car and walking 50 metres revealed the true nature of the problem - German bus vs Norwegian lorry - how to get past each other..? Eventually, it was sorted, and the road also sorts itself out somewhat past Leikanger. Two lanes more or less all the way to Sogndal.

I had a couple of alternatives in Sogndal, but I went for the familiar and straightforward: rv 5 to Lærdal. Not a particularly exciting road, although the views from the Mannheller-Fodnes Ferry are also superb. My longest tunnel on the trip was actually the 6.6 km Fodnes tunnel, but reasonably modern tunnels are more boring than anything else, and it wasn't even my first drive there...

From Lærdal to Borlaug, it was the E16, another place where one can see Norwegian political will in action. First time I drove there (sometime in the early 90s, I believe), the road was crap. I've driven there a few times since, and it has been steadily improved. Now, it's basically complete on the western side of Filefjell (I actually drove up to the plateau to see progress there, and it's nearing completion. I think everything will open next year, meaning that one can easily average 80 km/h (or more, if the traffic police don't scare you...) all the way.

Eventually, I returned down to Borlaug and picked up the rv 52 towards Hemsedal. It is a fairly good 2-lane road across the plateau, a bit steep and twisty up from Borlaug to the road's highest point - 1137 metres. Long, straight parts across the mountain invites speeding, and the decent to Hemsedal isn't much to talk about. Hemsedal is one of the biggest alpine skiing areas in Norway, but it works in summer as well...
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Old August 2nd, 2016, 03:54 PM   #4127
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Toll collection at the Oslofjord Tunnel will end at 31 August 2016 at 12:00 hrs.
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Old August 4th, 2016, 02:16 PM   #4128
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Originally Posted by ElviS77 View Post

From Lærdal to Borlaug, it was the E16, another place where one can see Norwegian political will in action. First time I drove there (sometime in the early 90s, I believe), the road was crap. I've driven there a few times since, and it has been steadily improved. Now, it's basically complete on the western side of Filefjell (I actually drove up to the plateau to see progress there, and it's nearing completion. I think everything will open next year, meaning that one can easily average 80 km/h (or more, if the traffic police don't scare you...) all the way.
Good to see the preference for E16 by politics as main road improved so much since the 90s. There is hope for some priority roads, such as the E16. Because it is fast, with good road quality, not blocked by snow there should be good reasons to select the E16/Rv52 as the second main road Bergen-Oslo and not the Rv7.
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Old August 6th, 2016, 09:46 AM   #4129
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so I followed the E134. I've driven it on numerous occations over the years, and the most obvious aspect of it is that it is virtually consistantly substandard all the way until west Telemark. It hasn't been improved all that much, apart from between Drammen and Kongsberg. The problem there is that it's still two-lane (or 2+1 divided), and when the traffic is just a little bit busy, two lanes doesn't cut it. It's even worse between Kongsberg and Notodden: the road is still busy, but narrow, twisty with a 70 km/h speed limit and no places to overtake.
Some photos of substandard road on E134 near Notodden.



Good that this year a new road between Kongsberg and Notodden has been approved. Last year a bridge on the E134 had to be closed because of high water near Omnesfossen waterfall.



TIMEkspressen bus had a collision on January 6, 2016 at the Telemark / Buskerud border.



By the way, much more accidents in Buskerud in 2016 than last year. They cannot find common root cases for the accidents. But it will help to speed up improvements of the E134 in this area.
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Old August 6th, 2016, 03:09 PM   #4130
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Flooding has paralyzed traffic in the Oslo region:
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Old August 6th, 2016, 04:11 PM   #4131
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TIMEkspressen bus had a collision on January 6, 2016 at the Telemark / Buskerud border.
There has been a proposal to build a high speed train Bergen-Oslo via Haukeli. Costs: NOK 210 billion. Although some studies showed feasibility, the parliament rejected the proposal.
Fast buses can be an alternative to the high speed train. They are a more cost effective solution and more environment friendly public transport from Bergen to Oslo. But these kind of huge vehicles need wide and fast roads. Costs for a motorway Bergen-Oslo are only 60 billion, a bargain compared with the high speed train. Intermediate stops can be fast with stops at diamond interchanges, so also Odda, Notodden and Kongsberg will have profit.
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Old August 7th, 2016, 02:45 PM   #4132
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The Hardanger bridge is really good. Pretty, but not in any way taking focus away from the surroundings. Nice piece of engineering, really.
Yes, beautiful bridge and attractive for tourists.

Nice also for Voss and a "cottage road" for people of Bergen to Haugastøl and Geilo, but for the rest of the west coast this investment is a monumental stupidity. We all know that there are no heavy weight arguments to build this bridge. After opening, the traffic is still lower than on E16 Filefjell or E134 Haukeli. Rv7 is not a serious alternative. NPRA and activists in Ullensvang and Eidfjord did incredible much effort with lobby work for 26 years with “Hardangerbrua AS”. NPRA has admitted meanwhile, this bridge should have been built at Jondal, serving more East – West traffic via E134. Now municipalities Odda, Jondal, Kvam and others will come with "Jondal bridge AS".

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Old August 7th, 2016, 04:30 PM   #4133
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Old August 8th, 2016, 01:41 PM   #4134
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The final day of my road trip was far more interesting than it could have been, as I didn't simply take the main rv 52/7 road to Oslo - too boring, too fast, too done before... I was also going to make a stop in Valdres, so I had to use an alternative road. Here goes:

I did follow the rv 52 down to Gol and continued on the rv 7 for a few kms. Then I turned left onto a very minor road climbing its way up the east side of the Hallingdal. Nice, narrow and eventually gravel. Not only that, the gravel road experience came with a fairly hefty toll - 70 NOK. Such tolled minor roads are fairly common in rural areas in Norway, particularly in the mountains (and I suspect that us being used to pay tolls going to our cabins in the woods, made it simpler to get us to accept other road tolls as well... I might be mistaken, though...). This road (Herad-Bagn) is a cool drive, narrow, prone to sheep and cattle, but not in any way difficult, and it runs through what feels like pure wilderness. This being Norway, you will eventually reach quite a few cabins, some of them large and new, but it's still a different kind of experience.

Reaching Bagn, I wasn't fed up with gravel and continued over Tonsåsen on that stuff. The experience is fairly similar to the abovementioned, only not as long, more forest, less mountain, more population, better quality road and a lower toll - 20 NOK (you can drive this route along a toll-free county road, but that's less fun and gravel... No matter which of the routes you take, you get to see parts of the closed Valdres railroad. It's a shame that it doesn't run anymore, it's fun seeing these old station houses in the middle of a forested hill. The descent into Etnedal is actually paved, but the pavement is so bad in places I preferred the gravel.

From there, I left unnumbered gravel roads and took the fv 33 and then 34 down to and along Randsfjorden. I'm familiar with fv 33, but fv 34 was one of very few eastern Norwegian numbered roads I hadn't driven. Fv 33 is currently mainly in a more than decent state, having been improved over the past few years. It's not a very exciting road, but there are a few things to see. Turning onto fv 34 was a bit more interesting, as the views of Randsfjorden are fairly good. The road varies from ok to good to questionable - the good section being an almost brand new piece of toll road. I didn't know about the tolls, and they surprised me a bit - tolls on secondary routes where there are no tunnels and bridges aren't that common.

From Brandbu to Oslo, it took the rv 4 to Complete my trip. The northernmost 10 km section is currently all road works, since a motorway will open there later this year. The rest basically sums up everything about Norwegian road construction over the past five decades or so: first, a 90s 2-lane expressway to the Oppland-Akershus county border. Then, a regular 2-lane road in or in the vicinity of built-up areas (thus, a 40-70 km/h speed limit). Towards Gjelleråsen and the Oslo border there is a quite recent (2000s), fairly long 2-/3-lane tunnel that already at opening needed to get a second tube... In Oslo, the road starts as a 60 km/h urban 3-lane road (one bus lane) and becomes one of the first 4-lane dual carriageway sections in Norway, I even think it's protected...

When I get my picture thing sorted, I'll share what I've got... For now, this travel report is all you get.
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Old August 8th, 2016, 01:47 PM   #4135
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(...)but for the rest of the west coast this investment is a monumental stupidity. We all know that there are no heavy weight arguments to build this bridge.
Well, it's there, it has been built. As far as I can see, there's not much we can do about the investment now... Better then to appreciate its beauty, methinks...
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Old August 8th, 2016, 05:02 PM   #4136
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rv 52/7 road to Oslo - too boring, too fast, too done before...I did follow the rv 52 down to Gol

Rv52 has indeed long boring stretches that invite to go fast. You can be adapted to the beautiful scenery . Some photos of Rv52.

Laerdal, county border


Relative many heavy trucks on Rv52



Amazing scenery



Somewhere at Hemsedalfjell



Rv52 goes through three villages, including Trøim, where tourism plays an important role. Hemsedal is the best ski area in Norway, with over 20 lifts and more than 50 slopes. Also called the Scandinavian Alps. The advantage over the Alps is that snow is available at low altitude.

For tourists and drivers who want a reliable road Bergen-Oslo, Rv52 is a very popular option.
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Old August 8th, 2016, 05:07 PM   #4137
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Rv. 52 is popular with truckers because it's not as steep as Rv. 7 or Fv. 50. The average daily truck volume is the highest of all east-west routes in southern Norway, even slightly higher than E134.
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Old August 8th, 2016, 05:10 PM   #4138
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Well, it's there, it has been built. As far as I can see, there's not much we can do about the investment now... Better then to appreciate its beauty, methinks...
Yes, but more money is needed for maintenance than the income collected by the drivers. Who has to pay finally? You and me perhaps Is that what we want? There are already plans to conserve bridge parts and use them to built a new Jondal bridge.
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Old August 8th, 2016, 06:30 PM   #4139
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Relative many heavy trucks on Rv52


Well, well, a heavy truck passing another one: an Elephant race. It is not even a motorway, so the drivers must feel freedom here for such a game. On a motorway, an elephant race is very annoying and showstopper for fast drivers . From the perspective of a truck driver it must be big fun
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Old August 8th, 2016, 06:34 PM   #4140
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When I get my picture thing sorted, I'll share what I've got... For now, this travel report is all you get.
I am looking forward for days to see the pictures. You will do me a big pleasure to post your pictures.
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