European Road E69 Olderfjord – North Cape The northernmost road in the world *
Regardless of whether by bike or motorcycle, tractor, VW Bus, RV or coach, the last 129 kilometers on the northernmost road in the world * between Olderfjord and the North Cape on the European route E69 and thus one of the most beautiful and exciting traffic routes.
(*with connection to the international road network)
If the European route E69 only existed in its original form, hardly anyone would pay attention to it. Because until the year 1977, the North Cape on the island of Magerøya could only be reached by mail boat, there was simply no road connection. The narrow road led only to the peninsula Repvåg, a fishing village. Because from there the frayed slate mountains become steep and insurmountable. Storms and snowdrifts have a firm grip on the area in the long winter time. Just look at the sharp-edged slate rocks. This is the best way to understand the forces of nature along today’s European Route E69.
The road connection to the North Cape
And yet, the traffic on the island of Magerøya and the North Cape was steadily increasing and eventually, strategically speaking, it was decided to go for a road link to the island. Together with the release of the European route E69, the ferry from Kåfjord went into operation, which could now comfortably bring the road to Magerøya and the North Cape.
The name of the European Route E69
Initially, the road connection from Oldesfjord to Kåfjord was named number 95. At that time, the route between Ålesund and Dombås was called the European Route E69. But with the reorganization in 1992 of the road system, the old European route E69 got the name European route 136. So the way was free to assign the number E69 and so the connection between Olderfjord on Porsangerfjord and the North Cape became the European route E 69.
The European Route E69 and the traffic jam in Kåfjord
The North Cape has always attracted people. And the more comfortable the roads became, the more came. That has not changed until today. Especially in mid-summer, it attracts columns of motorhomes and vehicles on the European route E69 to the North Cape. So it is not surprising that the ferry in Kåfjord was quickly overloaded and the traffic jammed for miles in front of the ferry port.
The government addressed this problem, of course with regard to possible increases in tourism on Magerøya and the transport of fish to the mainland, and decided on the extensive FATIMA project (Fastlandsforbindelsen til Magerøya) on the European route E69. Translated is the abbreviation for mainland connection to Magerøya.
The project included the continuous expansion of the European route E69 to Honningsvåg and should make a ferry connection superfluous. This was a very ambitious project and included road construction over a length of 28.6 kilometers. These included the construction of three tunnels and a bridge. From the mainland, the construction of the 6.9-kilometer Nordkap Tunnel was certainly the biggest challenge. Because this leads the European route E69 under the Barents Sea to the island Magerøya with a depth of 212 meters below sea level. As a result, the European route E69 has a gradient or slope of nine (!) Percent. That’s not for weak engines or weak brakes.
On the island was the construction of the 520 -meter-long Veidnes Bridge, the 195-meter-long Sarnest Tunnel and the 4.4-kilometer-long Honningsvåg Tunnel to connect the North Cape to the European Route E69. This created the two longest tunnels in Finnmark. Both the North Cape Tunnel and the Honningsvåg Tunnel have winter doors at both openings, which open automatically. This prevents frost and ice formation inside the tunnels.
On 15 June 1999, this section of the E69 European route was opened to traffic. For the North Cape Tunnel, this initially meant paying a high toll. We have the honor of being one of the last toll-payers on our penultimate tour, as the toll on the European Road for the North Cape Tunnel ended at 17.00 on 29 June 2012. By the way, the Nordkap Tunnel on the European Route E69 is the second longest underwater tunnel in the world.