Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 5, 2016


Historic trestles getting fresh legs starting this spring
Longyearbyen’s historic coal mining trestles are getting new legs to stand on, so to speak, as rotting poles supporting the massive wooden towers are scheduled to be replaced starting this spring. The trestles were used to transport coal by cable car from the center of Longyearbyen to the processing facility at Hotellneset until 1987. Experts have examined a total of 58 trestles in Longyearbyen and seven in Hiorthamn to date, concluding many need refurbishing. “Rot is a well-known problem with such structures,” said Sveinung Lystrup Thesen, property manager for Store Norske, which is responsible for maintaining the trestles at the behest of the Norwegian government. The first repairs to the trestle next to Kulturhuset are scheduled to be completed this spring.  The foundation is well preserved in permafrost two meters beneath the surface, but the four thick poles that connect the 30-meter structure to its foundation have rotted and must be replaced. The poles will be dug up and replaced two at a time, with the other two opposing poles securing the 20-ton structure while the “feet” are replaced. Officials expect the work will allow the trestle to remain standing for another 50 years.

Snowmobile DUI results in 40K kr. fine, 28 days in jail
A snowmobiler arrested for driving while highly intoxicated has been fined 40,000 kroner, sentenced to 28 days in jail and will lose his driver’s license for three years after pleading guilty to charges in Nord-Troms District Court. Police received a tip on Jan. 16 that the snowmobiler, a Longyearbyen man in his 30s, was driving under the influence in Adventdalen. Officials were forced to track him using one of the governor’s rescue helicopters when efforts to contact him from the road were unsuccessful, with the man eventually driving the scooter into the mudflats of the bay. The man had a blood-alcohol content of .23 percent, according to police, more than ten times the legal limit. The governor’s office sought a 56,000 kroner fine for the man, but the court reduced it since he does not have regular employment. He also faced up to 45 days in jail and the loss of his license for up to five years if he did not confess.