The Eiksund mainland connection opened on 23 February 2008. From that day, the region of Ulstein could be reached from the mainland without ferry. The Ulstein commuters celebrated the last day on the ferry with eating cake.
Ferry commuters celebrating the last day on the ferry.
After 17 years of commuting Jan Peder Hoggen, at the time assistant project manager in Ulstein Verft, anticipated the opening of the mainland connection.
“This means a lot to me in many ways. One thing is that I will have more leisure, more than one hour each day”, he said with enthusiasm. Defining commuting, he replied:
“Early mornings, eating breakfast in a hurry, and grab a cup of coffee from the petrol station in Volda before starting on the journey to Ulstein.” With the connection, commuting will be faster and more flexible. “Perhaps I should take up a new hobby? In any case, I will have more time for my existing hobbies such as, for example, mountain hikes. Another bonus is that I can sleep a little longer in the morning”, he said with a smile.
“More flexibility means I don’t have to worry about managing to catch the ferry, or having to wait for the next ferry. It's not just about reaching a ferry, but if there is room enough for you and your car onboard”, he explained.
Seven years prior to the mainland connection opening, Børulf Lefdal built his house in Hovdebygda in Ørsta, in anticipation of the shortened commuting distance to Ulstein Verft.
Børulf Lefdal in front of the tunnel opening of the Eiksund connection.
“I am looking so much forward to the opening of the connection. The ferry is a constant stress factor. I will get much more spare time every day, this is very important, particularly when you have two small children,” said Børulf, who at the time was senior engineer hull at the engineering department in Ulstein Verft. “Traffic is high, and we have to be at the ferry crossing 15-20 minutes before departure to be certain there is room for you on board.” A similar story is told by Gaute Gaudestad, then senior planner at Ulstein Verft: “It will be good to come home before dark, and to be sure to be home at all at . >span class="hps">Soon, I can sleep longer in the morning and still arrive at work at the same time as before”.
“I am looking incredibly much forward to cruise on my 1100 Yamaha motorbike >span class="hps">on my way to work”, ended Jan Peder. About 40 employees of the Ulstein Group commute daily between Ørsta/Volda and Ulsteinvik.
Idar Ulstein was a driving force behind the realisation of the Eiksund connection, which binds the Ulstein region together with Ørsta/Volda. Today, his daughter, Gunvor Ulstein, is head of the board in Hafast. This is an ongoing initiative to realise a connection between the Ulstein region and Ålesund.