Bridge across Ölfusá river - preliminary design

EFLA is currently working on the preliminary design of a new bridge crossing the Ölfusá river, just north of the town of Selfoss in the south of Iceland. The bridge will be a cable stayed bridge, the first of its kind in Iceland. The two main spans of the bridge will be 145 and 155 meters long, the longest bridge spans in Iceland to date. 

About this Project

The Icelandic Road Authorities

2014 and ongoing 

Ölfusá river, just north of Selfoss, south Iceland


The project's objective

The main road around Iceland currently runs through the town of Selfoss. According to approved local plans, the route will be moved north to bypass the town and divert the heavy traffic of today away from the current bridge across the Ölfusá river. The old bridge is reaching the end of its life span. Plans for a new bridge north of Selfoss have been under development since the early 2000s.

The preliminary design involves developing various features of the bridge design in cooperation with the client and other collaborators. The bridge has a tower located on a small island in the river and the main bridge spans are cable-stayed to the tower.

Cost estimates for different bridge decks and tower types have been performed during the preliminary design. Cross sections with varying width were analysed with respect to the number of lanes required on the bridge.

The bridge is in a highly active seismic region and assessing the earthquake loading has been an important part of the preliminary design. This is done in close collaboration with experts at the University of Iceland.

Structural detailing is performed in collaboration with architects at Studio Granda with a view to making the bridge aesthetically pleasing and in harmony with its surroundings.

It is estimated that the project will continue incrementally over the next few years.

Environmental issues

Environmental impact assessment evaluated parallel to the preliminary drafts in 2010. Local bird flight will be mapped to assess the need to divert them from the bridge tower.

Collaboration with architects at Studio Granda regarding the bridge's aesthetics as it will be a predominant landmark. The bridge will not affect flooding of the Ölfusá river. 

EFLA's role

  • Bridge design
  • Geotechnical field studies
  • Project management 

The project's long term benefits

A better flow of traffic on Route 1 via the new bridge and replacement of aging infrastructure.