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Bergen City Council gives the green light to controversial light rail project

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Bergen City Council gives the green light to controversial light rail project
The city council in Bergen has given the green light to a light rail project. Pictured is Bryggen in Bergen. Photo by Marcel Ardivan on Unsplash

A 21 billion kroner light rail line from Åsane to Bryggen has received a majority vote from Bergen City Council.

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A majority of the city council voted in favour of the new line, which will stretch 12.7 kilometres from Åsane to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bryggen. In total, 36 councillors voted in favour of the project, while 31 were in opposition.

The light rail project will cost 21 billion kroner, and construction could begin in 2025. The line will have 14 stops. In addition, 5.7 kilometres of the new tunnel will be built, while 13 kilometres of cycle paths will be laid.

A light rail running to the city centre has been widely debated in Bergen for over a decade. On Wednesday, demonstrations in favour and against the project were held outside the town hall in Bergen.

The project's future has yet to be fully secured, as much will depend on how much of the bill the state will pick up.

Next year, the government will unveil a new national transport plan. Details on how much of the bill the state will pick up will become more apparent.

Bergen City Council Leader Rune Bakervik and City Council Development Leader Ingrid Nergaard Fjeldstad will meet with the Norwegian Minister for Transport, Jon-Ivar Nygård, to discuss the project in the coming days.

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Bakervik has said he is confident of securing funding from the government for the project.

"(We are confident) because we have a government that is adamant that we must contribute to reducing climate emissions, and in the west, the Bybanen is the biggest project. Here I have a clear expectation that the government will stand by its promise," he told public broadcaster NRK.

The city council predicts that up to 60,000 passengers will use the Bybannen to Åsane by 2040.

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