Underpass under the Reykjanesbraut Highway

As a part of a larger project to widen and alter the Reykjanesbraut Highway through Hafnarfjörður town, EFLA, in collaboration with Studio Granda architects, carried out the design of an underpass under the highway. 

The underpass is located at Suðurholt in Hafnarfjörður and improves the pedestrian links between the town's neighbourhoods on both sides of the highway. 

About this Project

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration


Hafnarfjörður, Iceland


The project's objective

The underpass is part of a larger project, namely the widening of the highway from Reykjavík through Hafnarfjörður to the international airport in Keflavík. The highway over the underpass is still only a single carriageway, but the design of the underpass is suited to the planned dual carriageway of the future.

The underpass is an arch-shaped tunnel of reinforced concrete, with curved retaining walls inclined 30° from vertical at each end. A 3 m wide footway passes through, but the concrete arch spans 10 m. The retaining walls form vaults at both ends, to correspond with the lava fields of the area. Bricks of lava are arranged to form the shoulder of the path in the underpass.

The road-facing side of the upper part of the retaining walls are formed as side barriers of concrete. The path through the underpass connects the Hvaleyrarholt and Vellir neighbourhoods in Hafnarfjörður.

As part of the project, EFLA also provided the layout of a bypass for the highway traffic and other consultancy during the construction phase, budget planning and tender specifications.

Environmental issues

EFLA performed a geotechnical survey on site. The landscape design was a collaboration with landscape architects from Landslag. The project scope includes the design of a rainwater system at the underpass.

EFLA's role

  • Design of an underpass below the Reykjanesbraut Highway
  • Design of a bypass for traffic on the Reykjanesbraut Highway during the construction phase
  • Budget planning and tender design
  • Consultancy during the construction phase
  • Participation in the final inspection 

The project's long term benefits

An improved link for pedestrians travelling between neighbourhoods in the town of Hafnarfjörður. In the long term this will also enable the widening of the Reykjanesbraut Highway.