THE Norwegian government has announced that it will transfer management of the Ringeriksbanen/E16 combined railway and motorway project to state-owned infrastructure company Nye Veier. 

“This means that Nye Veier will take over responsibility for building the new 40km double-track line between Sandvika and Hønefoss, as well as the new four-lane E16 from Skaret to Hønefoss in the same corridor,” said minister of transport Mr Knut Arild Hareide, in a report by Aftenposten. 

Nye Veier was created by the Norwegian government in 2016 to execute large-scale civil infrastructure projects and is wholly owned by the Ministry of Transport. 

The combined Ringeriksbanen/E16 project is expected to cost an estimated NKr 35.6bn ($US 4.2bn), and construction is planned to start sometime between 2021 and 2022, following government approval of funding.  

The project will be included as part of the first period of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport’s National Transport Plan 2022-2033. The plan will be presented in May as part of the government’s revised national budget, with a decision expected in the summer. 

The move follows the publishing of an independent quality assessment of the project in February, which was carried out by consultant firms Marstrand and Møreforskning on behalf of the Norwegian government. The assessment outlined a series of recommendations that could reduce the cost by NKr 4bn, including a potential 50km/h reduction in the planned line speed to 200km/h. 

The Norwegian Railway Directorate has recommended that a decision needs to be made on whether the project should be approved based on data in the report but did not find grounds to further explore the proposal to build a single-track line.   

The new railway line is expected to offer travel times of around 30 minutes between Oslo and Hønefoss  and will reduce journey times between Oslo and Bergen by almost an hour. 

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