Espenes rest area, Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger. Photo: Lage Bakken, Statens vegvesen

Director General Ingrid Dahl Hovland of the NPRA will perform the official opening.

Espenes is a great stop between Kinsarvik and Odda, with long traditions as a rest area on National Road 13 in Sørfjorden. The old rest area was used as a lay-down area when the national road was being upgraded, and remained as a large flat gravel surface in the otherwise very steep and hilly landscape. Here, the NPRA has built a new and modern rest area as part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes attraction.

Espenes. Photo: Lage Bakken, Statens vegvesen

The distinctive feature of this facility is a 64-metre-long and 4-metre-wide structure in stainless steel, with 12 roof modules of varying heights. The roof structure is held up by massive steel pillars on a concrete base plate. The welded steel plates are 6 mm thick and weigh a total of 31 tonnes.

The highest part near the road contains toilet facilities, while seating areas under the low roof structure offer a great view northwards along Sørfjorden. Under the roof vaults, the visitor will experience different sections of the landscape space along with the changing reflections of the light in the steel.

Espenes. Photo: Lage Bakken, Statens vegvesen

-Espenes as a Scenic Route installation offers travellers a pleasant break among steep mountains and precipitous rocks, with the fiord as a natural eye-catcher and companion, says Bjarne Ringstad of Code Arkitektur.

The plan was for the facility to be completed in the autumn of 2021. That didn’t happen. A pandemic, delayed steel deliveries and rough weather in Western Norway - the challenges piled up for the new iconic structure at Espenes.

Now the Scenic Route Attraction is finally in place at a total cost of NOK 40 million, financed by national government funds allocated to Norwegian Scenic Routes.

Contracting client: NPRA, Norwegian Scenic Routes
Architect: Code Arkitektur AS
Contractor: Brun Bygg AS
Steel contractor: Størksen Rustfri Industri AS