Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Ladder of Trolls – Trollstigen

Trollstigen with its steep incline of 10 per cent and 11 hairpin bends up a steep mountainside is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Norway. 

Roads Norway

Trollstigen is situated in the north of Western Norway – Vestlandet. It is part of Norwegian County Road 63 that connects the town of Åndalsnes in Rauma and the village of Valldal in Norddal Municipality. 

Trolls' Road was opened on 31 July 1936 after eight years of construction. Even today, this road is an outstanding example of engineering. In the middle of the road there is a bridge over the Stigfossen waterfall (180 meters high). At the top of it (858 meters above the sea level) you will find a large parking and many souvenir shops. Nearby from the parking there is a platform with a view to the curving Trollstigen and Stigfossen. 

Stigfossen, Norway

In some places, Trollstigen is just 3.3 meters wide, that is why vehicles over 12.4 metres (41 ft) long are prohibited from driving the road. Trollstigen is closed during late autumn and winter. A normal operating season stretches from mid-May to October, but may be shorter or longer due to weather conditions. 

HISTORY OF CONSTRUCTION 

For several hundred years (1533–1875) the Romsdals Market had been a vital annual event for trade and social life in the area, so access over the mountains was an important factor for farmers who bought and sold both horses and cattle. It was a major reason why the inhabitants of Valdallen wanted more convenient communication through Trollstigen. The inhabitants of Romsdalen were interested in the road to Valdallen as well. The challenge was to design and build the road through the mountains.  

Traditional Dress Norway

In 1891 first 8 km of the road were constructed. Afterwards, the engineer Nils Hovdenak was charged with the project. It was Hovdenak who first saw the possibility of building a motor road there instead of just a path for people and horses. In the next years, he devoted much effort to make the communication through Trollstigen real. In 1905-1906 the government allocated 4000 crones to build the road. 

Norway, More og Romsdal, Rauma, Trollstigen road

The works started 1n 1905 and finished in 1913. Still, Nils Hovdenak had ambitious plans to build a motor road from Valldalen to Romsdalen. He predicted that the road would become an important touristic route because of the amazing beauty of the local landscapes. 

King Haakon VII, Norway

In October 1916, the Department of Public Works (Arbeidsdepartmentet) gave the go ahead for work to start on the construction. Work started on the Valldal side, with the building of new bridges over the Valldøla River near Gudbrandsjuvet (1919), at Hoel (1921) and Krike (1926–27). Work started on the Romsdal side in 1928. Years later, on July 31, 1936, the road was ready and included 11 turns on sharp mountain slopes with multiple artificial objects like walls of natural stone and bridges. King Haakon VII himself opened the road and gave it its name – Trollstigen – the Trolls’ Ladder. 


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