Road to recovery
After seven years of renovation the The King’s Road over Filefjell, in Norway, has finally met the end of the road and is ready to face its first hikers. The elaborate upgrade is a collaboration between the public and private sectors. It aims to teach people about the importance of the history of transport over Filefjell and at the same time preserve an important cultural heritage.
The King’s road is the oldest drive-able road between east and west. Built in the 1970s and later replaced by new more modern roads the goal of the project was twofold. Partly initiated to see how much was left of the track, while on the other hand investigate what could be done to establish the path as a continuous cultural heritage path between Lærdalsøyri and Vang. The rout is a part of the investment in tourism on both sides of the mountains, but it will also make it possible to upgrade, restore and maintain a piece of road engineering heritage of high national value.
Project manager Jan Adriansen tells in an interview with Aftenposten that it is bittersweet to see the project come to an end.
"It will be weird not to work on this project any longer, but I think there are people at home who will appreciate me not working on the project day and night anymore," he told the newspaper. However, he believes the most important job begins now.
"It is now, after the project is over that the work actually begins. Both the rout and the tourism aspect must be maintained and developed further in the years to come. In some ways you can say that the King’s Road over Filefjell has transformed from a project into a product," he explains.
The restoration of the historic track proved to be quite the challenge for the participants involved. To construct a road without the help of modern machinery is not a common expertise among Norwegian entrepreneurs. For that reason sherpas from Nepal was hired to collaborate with the local construction workers to share their knowledge on the field of setting up dry-stone walls. The result is nothing less than breathtaking. In 2014 the project won the "Vakre Vegers Pris" (beautiful roads award) handed out by The Norwegian Public Roads Admninistration.