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Oslo sets aside 53 million kroner to clear away snow

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Oslo sets aside 53 million kroner to clear away snow
Snow being cleared at Grefsen in Oslo. photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix
16:00 CET+01:00
Oslo has spent so much money on gritting and shovelling and clearing snow this winter that budget limits have been reached.

According to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, 2018 has seen twice as much snow as expected, compared to normal levels, and up to 10,000 people are reported to have complained to the city's Urban Environment Agency (Bymiljøetaten) about the hazardous nature of the city's roads and paths, writes broadcaster NRK.

5,000 truck loads of snow have already been transported out of the city so far this winter, according to the report.

"In the last few weeks it has been difficult to get around our city, especially for those who aren't so good on their feet. The plowing budget is almost used up and the Urban Environment Agency has therefore requested more money," Lan Marie Berg, head of Oslo Municipality's environment and traffic department, told NRK.

The municipality has therefore agreed to allocate an extra 53 million kroner (5.4 million euros) for clearing snow this year.

Norway's capital will spend 180 million kroner (18.4 million euros) on winter maintenance in total as a result of the funding boost.

The Urban Environment Agency will also be given funding to remove ice and snow from paths and roads in residential areas.

According to the agency, 750 cars have been towed in the capital this winter to allow ploughing vehicles to access necessary areas. 25,500 tonnes of grit had already been spread by the end of January, a significant increase on the 15,000 tonnes spread throughout the entirety of last winter, writes NRK.

In Oslo, an ice melting machine located at the city's harbour - nicknamed 'Terje' - takes care of much of the snow removed from streets. But with the machine having reached capacity, other solutions must be found by the municipality, including piling snow in streets and parking lots.

"We cannot continue to transport all snow from Oslo at the moment, because deposit sites are closed. In some places, snow must therefore be placed at the side of the road," said Urban Environment Agency director Gerd Robsahm Kjørven to NRK.

How the extra funding for snow clearance will be found has not been specified.

"It is snowing now and the snow must be removed. That's why we're making the money available, and we'll have to find space for it before we produce a revised budget for the municipality," Robert Steen, a councillor on Oslo Municipality's finance committee, told NRK.

"I have some idea as to where the money will come from, and I am very sure that citizen services will not suffer," he added.

READ ALSO: Norwegian cabins almost buried as snow reaches three metres' depth

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