Lonely Road: Greenland Wants to Build its First-Ever Road Between Cities

by Lauren Boisvert

Greenland is severely lacking in roads, but say that to the locals and they’re bound to disagree with you. They get around fine by boat, plane, or dogsled. But, according to Leica Geosystems, there’s only 93 miles of road in Greenland. Additionally, only 37 miles of it is paved. Unlike its actually-green cousin, Iceland, Greenland prefers to let nature rule. What it lacks in roads, it makes up for in beautiful vistas and stunning glaciers.

Now, Greenland is going to build its first road connecting two cities; Sisimiut, the second-largest city in Greenland, and Kangerlussuaq, a town of about 500 people, will be connected with the Arctic Circle Road. The dirt road will be 100 miles long and interspersed with campsites and cabins for those hiking or biking. ATVs will also be allowed on the Arctic Circle Road, but no cars.

Greenland is expecting to get around 100,000 tourists to the Arctic Circle Road, according to Jalopnik. They’re looking to attract adventurers, people who walk off the beaten path, who are looking for excitement and a bit of a challenge.

How Wildlife Bridges Save Lives

Speaking of rural roads, ever seen those overpasses made of grass and local flora? Those are wildlife bridges, only one way roads are actually saving lives. According to Rob Ament, road ecology program manager at Western Transportation Institute, animal and human road fatalities are up. “Over the most recently reported 15-year period,” he told National Geographic, “wildlife-vehicle collisions have increased by 50 percent, with an estimated one to two million large animals killed by motorists every year.”

So how do we save animals like moose and deer, raccoons and turtles from being killed? Just like Greenland, we build a road.

But not a road to link two cities and attract adventure-seeking tourists; but a road that allows wildlife to safely cross the highway.

Wildlife bridges, culverts, underpasses, and viaducts, to name a few, are great solutions to the severe roadkill problem. “You can get reductions of 85 to 95 percent with crossings and fencing that guide animals under or over highways,” said Ament. Which is a huge reduction, and a big difference in the lives of people and wildlife.

Currently, in Iowa, there’s an opportunity to repurpose an old bridge to use as the world’s longest land bridge for both pedestrians and animals. The Bison Bridge Foundation is gaining support to repurpose the I-80 bridge in the Quad Cities, on the Mississippi River. The plan is to share in the beauty of the area and grow the local bison herd. The westbound lane of the new bridge will be dedicated to the bison, with grazing lands on either side of the bridge. The Foundation wants to get those lands National Park status; the way to do it is with the repurposed bridge.