– If the grazing areas disappear, I have to cover them. That’s what worries me the most, says farmer Sven Ivar Bakka, patting a dairy cow.
He owns the farm Tveite, one of several farms located near today’s E18 in Tvedestrand.
Now with the development of the new highway, the dairy farmer fears for the future.
Baka and his wife bought the farm 10 years ago.
They rent grazing areas from their neighbours.
– We need the cultivated land we have. It is absolutely necessary for grazing, says the dairy farmer.
From Tvedestrand to Gjerstad, the E18 becomes a four-lane road with a speed limit of 100 km/h.
The choice is between reusing and extending the existing route or building the motorway further into the forest.
– No future to live here
– Anders Lunde says there is no future to live here if the motorway is widened, and today’s E18 is just a stone’s throw away.
He is the 14th generation at the Lunde farm, which will be affected.
Lunde is one of two old cluster farms in Aktor with buildings dating back to the early 17th century.
The farm user believes the proposed route to reuse the current E18 will threaten the entire rural community.
– I’m more than happy to sacrifice land for a new highway, but it has to be built in the backwoods.
On the other side of E18 he owns large tracts of forest.
Locals are committed to expanding today’s E18.
Over 200 signatures have been collected in a few days. They fear that people will have to leave their homes and farmland will be lost forever.
– We fight against tearing down the village and dividing it into two. That would be devastating, says spokesperson for Songe Vale Jana Lindland.
Locals wonder which is more important – forests or vibrant rural communities.
They are particularly reported to the state administrator in Akter, who advises against the new E18 in forest areas, considering nature and wildlife.
– The forest road proposal passes through large and particularly important natural areas. Not only would a road separate these areas, wildlife would also be severely affected. All in all, it causes a huge environmental impact, says Ingun Lovdal, director of environmental protection at the state administration in Aktor.
– So, more ideas of nature than home and agriculture?
– We always weigh the whole in a project, answers Lovdal.
To be decided in the fall
In the fall, the Nye Veier Company will select a route for the new motorway.
Four routes are being explored. Two with a re-use of today’s E18 and two in woodland areas on the heath.
NRK is in contact with Nye Veier.
They note popular involvement, but say this does not affect the investigation of various route choices.
Nye Veier collaborates with an inter-municipal group comprising the municipalities of Risør, Gjerstad, Vegårshei and Tvedestrand.
When it becomes clear which way Nye Veier will recommend for the affected municipalities, the municipal councils will have to implement it.
If there is no consensus on route selection, the Ministry of Transport and Communications will decide as the appeal body.
“Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru.”