My favorite bridge in Iceland
October 21, 2016
By Chrissy Mancini Nichols
Glacial River Bridge was by far was my favorite piece of Infrastructure in Iceland. Resting over Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, the one lane bridge along Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1) is the gateway for icebergs breaking off Breiðamerkurjökull and Vatnajökull Glaciers to enter the black sand Ice Beach and the North Atlantic.
Located about five hours south east of Reykjavik, Jökulsárlón is magical. It sits a little below the road so you don’t see the lagoon or the icebergs until you’re there. And then there it is! The icebergs are blue—blue! A result of the glacier and sea water mix and the air trapped inside. The icebergs, some as big as a house, break off and swim away to the ocean as seals play in the water.
After starring in awe at the icebergs and my favorite bridge I did some research on Jökulsárlón and was surprised by what I learned.
I found out that future travelers to Iceland may not get a chance to see its marvel.
And Glacial River Bridge—it will soon be gone.
While Jökulsárlón is one of the most magical places I’ve visited in the world, it only exists because of climate change. Just 60 years ago, which is within my parent’s generation, the entire area was covered by glaciers.
But then they started melting.
As the earth warms, a result of climate change, the glaciers melt and the lagoon grows bigger and deeper (it is now the deepest lake in Iceland at 800 feet.)
The lagoon has grown nine times its size in just the past 40 years—many miles bigger.
As it continues to melt it will eventually become a big fjord.
One day the icebergs will be gone.
And the bridge? It will be gone too, replaced by a much bigger one.