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Home* News and Stories → 140 flats in Lon­gye­ar­by­en must give way to avalan­che pro­tec­tion

140 flats in Lon­gye­ar­by­en must give way to avalan­che pro­tec­tion

Exten­si­ve avalan­che pro­tec­tion mea­su­res are likely to chan­ge Longyearbyen’s city­scape over the next few years. This was the result of a stu­dy publis­hed by the NVE (Nor­we­gi­an Water Resour­ces and Ener­gy Direc­to­ra­te) in mid-March. The­re­af­ter, the buil­dings in the eas­tern part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en are clas­si­fied as much more end­an­ge­red than pre­vious­ly assu­med.

Avalanche danger zones

Avalan­che dan­ger zones mark the pos­si­bi­li­ties of an avalan­che once in 100 years (red zone), once in 1000 years (oran­ge zone) and once in 5000 years (yel­low zone).
Pic­tu­re: NVE

Accord­ing to the NVE report, the dan­ger zone reaches almost to the cen­ter, so that a num­ber of houses with a total of around 140 flats may need to be demo­lis­hed. As a pro­tec­ti­ve mea­su­re, it is recom­men­ded to build a 10 to 15 meter high bar­ri­er. Whe­re exact­ly the bar­rie­re should stand and which houses are affec­ted in detail by the demo­li­ti­on, is still unclear. The bar­rie­re will pro­bab­ly extend across way 230 and 228 to Hil­mar Reks­tens Vei.

In addi­ti­on, at the foot of Mount Suker­top­pen, several “bra­ke cones” are to be instal­led, which can redu­ce the ener­gy of an avalan­che. The “bra­ke cones” should each be ten meters wide and eight meters high. Tog­e­ther with the con­struc­tion of new houses as well as a plan­ned pro­tec­tion against muds­li­des from Vann­led­nings­da­len, the con­struc­tion work will pro­bab­ly cost at least 100 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an kro­ner (about 10 mil­li­on Euros). The­se mea­su­res should be imple­men­ted wit­hin the next three years.

In recent years, several houses in Lon­gye­ar­by­en have been hit by avalan­ches. In Decem­ber 2015, a cata­stro­phic avalan­che from Mount Suk­ker­top­pen hit 11 buil­dings. A 42-year-old father and a two-year-old girl died. The dis­as­ter had a huge impact on the inha­bi­tants of Lon­gye­ar­by­en and for­ced aut­ho­ri­ties and poli­tics to act, but reac­tions on the various poli­ti­cal levels from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to Oslo are slow. This is frus­tra­ting peop­le local­ly, who have to live with mon­th-long evacua­tions.

Avalanche 19.12.2015

In the avalan­che dis­as­ter on 19.12.2015 houses were moved up to 80 meters.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten, NVE

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2018-04-13 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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