Construction chaos and drug addicts greet tourists


No matter which way they enter Norway’s capital, visitors these days are running right into construction projects and other challenges as they make their way into the city.

The area around Oslo’s central train station (Oslo S) is especially ugly this spring, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. The entire area in front of the station is dug up, part of a major renovation of street-level transit and lines and pedestrian areas.

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Tourists have to navigate their way through the torn-up streets, sidewalks and clanging jack-hammers after arriving at the station either by bus or express train from the airport.

They also are likely to encounter crowds of drug addicts and pushers, who have resumed congegrating outside the station’s main entrance. Police moved them out of the area on the station’s southern side a few years ago, and have tried raiding the entrance area recently, but the addicts keep coming back.

Visitors arriving by ship also face challenges getting into town.

From the Color Line terminal at Hjortneskaia west of downtown, they confront a container yard. From the DFDS ferry terminal at Vippetangen, they run into either construction projects in connection with either a new undersea tunnel in the works or the new Opera House. And then there are the prostitutes, sometimes aggressive, scattered throughout the nearby area known as Kvadraturen. Most everyone arriving on the ferry from Copenhagen who wants to walk into town has to go through Kvadraturen, an otherwise historic and leafy area.

An official with Oslo’s Chamber of Commerce is happy about the looming facelifts for key city areas, but wishes all the construction projects hadn’t been going on at once.

Tor Sannerud of the Oslo Visitors’ Bureau is more concerned that tourists encounter areas perceived as unsafe, because of drug dealing.