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Natural Hazards

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 465–480 | Cite as

Avalanche risk assessment for mountain roads: a case study from Iceland

  • Maria WastlEmail author
  • Johann Stötter
  • Hannes Kleindienst
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents an assessment of the avalanche hazard potential and the resulting risks on mountain roads for a 38.7-km-long section of road no 76 (Siglufjarðarvegur) in northern Iceland following a regional scale approach developed in the Alps. The assessment of the individual avalanche death risk proved applicable to distinguish areas of avalanche hazard with a risk above the accepted level, which should be given priority in following detailed investigations and the planning of possible protective measures, from road sections where the avalanche death risk is low and accepted according to international practice. The cumulative individual and collective avalanche death risks in the investigated road section provide a comparable measure for assessing the avalanche hazard both within the Icelandic public road network and on an international scale. The case study on road no 76 in northern Iceland shows that a standardised regional scale risk-based approach is practical to determine, analyse and assess the avalanche hazard situation on mountain roads in Iceland and guarantees comprehensible, reproducible and comparable results as a basis for a sustainable planning of measures.

Keywords

Risk assessment Avalanche hazard Mountain roads Iceland 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper is based on a study for the Icelandic Road Administration made at the alps—Centre for natural hazard and risk management GmbH in Innsbruck in cooperation with Línuhönnun consulting engineers in Reykjavík. We thank the Icelandic Road Administration and the Icelandic Meteorological Office for the provision of data and Dr. Halldór G. Pétursson at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History in Akureyri for useful information on the investigated road section. We also thank the reviewers for their constructive comments on the paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Wastl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johann Stötter
    • 2
  • Hannes Kleindienst
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Institute for Integrated Natural SciencesKoblenz UniversityKoblenzGermany
  2. 2.Institute of GeographyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.GRID-IT Gesellschaft für angewandte Geoinformatik mbHInnsbruckAustria

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