Traffic jams and ferry queues as Norway holidays at home

Traffic jams and ferry queues as Norway holidays at home
There is heavy traffic on many roads. Photo: Knut Opeide/SVV
Norway's Prime Minister has encouraged everyone to holiday at home this year. But as well as bringing much-needed spending to tourist areas across the country, it has also brought traffic.
There are queues of more than six hours for some popular car ferries, and many roads are congested. 
 
According to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration more than 1,000 more cars a day are currently driving along parts of the coasts of Helgelund and Nordland than in the same period last year. The E39 near Ålesund is seeing close to 2,000 additional cars per day. 
 
“My conclusion is very clear. We are seeing greater traffic than what is normal for this part of the year, Arnmod Bjørnstad, the section head of the administrations road traffic control centres in northern Norway. 
 
 
'Norway is a beautiful country', Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Norwegians back in May, as they were planning their holidays. “I would recommend people to plan for a Norwegian holiday this summer.” 
 
But Magnar Nilsen and Tove Nygård Nilsen from Moss, one couple who heeded her advice, had to sleep in their car after waiting six and a half hours for a ferry from Forvik to Tjøtta. They estimate they have spent 15 hours so far in ferry queues on their journey up the coast to Lofoten. 
 
“When the government encouraged everyone to have a holiday in Norway, they should have made sure that there were enough ferries to handle all the tourists,” the couple told Norway's state broadcaster NRK
 
Torhild Haugann, the mayor of Vevelstad, said that the arrival of tourists had also been a nightmare for local residents, who now felt trapped on their islands, unable to visit locals towns to go shopping. 
 
“It is actually so bad that many farmers do not dare to leave home, because you do not know if and when you can get back,” he said. “Taking a risk and travelling might involve an overnight stay.” 
 
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration has started increasing the number of departures on some ferry routes to reduce the congestion. 
 

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