Today in Transportation History – 1967: A Long Bridge In Northern Norway

The Tjeldsund Bridge in northern Norway made its debut. The 3,304-foot-long suspension road bridge, which has 32 spans altogether, crosses the Tjeldsundet strait between the municipalities of Skånland on the mainland and Harstad on the island of Hinnøya. The Tjeldsund Bridge took 30 months to build, with 112,000 bags of cement and 1,200 tons of steel used during the course of this project.

The structure is part of a larger network of bridges in that region of Norway providing key transportation links between various islands and the mainland. The Tjeldsund Bridge also has the distinction of being second only to the 3,399-foot-long Tromsø Bridge, which was opened in 1960 and is likewise located in northern Norway, as the oldest Norwegian bridge that measures more than 2,800 feet in length.

King Olav V of Norway, 1957

The Tjeldsund Bridge was officially opened by King Olav V, who reigned as Norway’s monarch from 1957 to his death in 1991. He was very popular among his fellow Norwegians, earning the nickname Folkekongen (“The People’s King”).

King Olav, whose name is sometimes spelled “Olaf,” was also an avid fan of automobiles. This enthusiasm was readily evident as far back as 1913 when then-Crown Prince Olav (only nine years old at the time) was given a miniature battery-powered car by his grandmother Queen Alexandra of England. This “Baby Cadillac” model, which the young prince drove through the streets of London amid a great deal of fanfare and media coverage, is now on permanent loan to the Oslo-based Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology.

Even after assuming the throne of Norway, King Olav enjoyed getting behind the wheel of an automobile and driving around on his own. Fittingly enough, the Norwegian portion of European route 10 – the international highway that travels across the Tjeldsund Bridge – is also formally known as King Olav V’s Road.

For more information on the Tjeldsund Bridge, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tjeldsund_Bridge

A 1913 British film that shows the future King Olav V driving his miniature car through London can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rMgxEN3Kfg

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