Everything You Need to Know About the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel in North Iceland

24 Feb 2020

Everything You Need to Know About the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel in North Iceland

The Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel is a new addition, located in the northern portion of Iceland near Akureyri, Iceland’s second-largest town. The tunnel first opened in December 2018, and serves as an alternative route to Víkurskarð.


About the Vaðlaheiðargöng Tunnel

The Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel spans a total of 7.5 km, between Akureyri and Husavik.

The primary reason for development of Vaðlaheiðargöng was to provide a shorter and safer travel option, compared to the original route.

During construction, the project was met with a bit of controversy. For starters, completion of the project was delayed by two years, building costs exceeded the initial budget by more than 40%, and many feel the toll fees are too high.

While the new Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel may not be for everyone. There’s no denying the tunnel is the safer option during bad weather. The older route takes you through a winding mountainous road over the Víkurskarð mountain heath. This road is often dangerous or even closed during the winter months, and is not as well-maintained by road crews, since the opening of the tunnel.

Before planning a trip through Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel, the following information will help you avoid unnecessary fees.


Tolls Paid Online versus On Location

Unlike many toll roads that are equipped with either manned or automatic toll booths, Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel tolls must be paid online at www.tunnel.is, or using the Veggjald app.

You’ll have the option to register in advance, which is highly recommended. Why? The signs posted at the tunnel entrances aren’t very clear and has caused confusion and extra costs for some people. The Road and Coastal Administration is in the process of updating the signs, both for the tunnel fees and the alternative route.

The standard cost for a single trip for a passenger vehicle is 1.500 ISK, which must be paid within 3 hours of traveling through the tunnel. Otherwise, if paid after 3 hours, the fee increases to 2.500 ISK.

Also, there’s no avoiding the fees, as they track all license plates. Failure to pay within the allotted amount of time results in an invoice being sent to the registered owner of the car. In the event you’re driving a rental car, the rental company is invoiced the 2.500 ISK. Naturally those fees will be passed along to the customers who will also incur administrative fees.

The payment apps are fairly straightforward and will save you time and money by taking care of the details in advance.


Take the Scenic Víkurskarð Route and Skip the Tunnel

Perhaps you want to skip the tunnel and toll fees altogether. If weather and road conditions are good, the original route of Víkurskarð road is a great option that only takes 10 more minutes than the tunnel. To alleviate any travel concerns, be sure to check the road network site beforehand. If all looks good and you’re wanting to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, an extra 10 minutes will get you to your destination, and it is free of charge.


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