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Bomb threats, contempt for politicians and bridge construction – that was the latest referendum in Halland

On March 23, 1980, the issue of nuclear power was on the agenda in Sweden and a national referendum was held. On the same day, residents in Falkenberg municipality also had to go to the ballot box in a completely different matter.

The traffic on the already existing Customs Bridge needed to be relieved in some way and the politicians wanted to consult the people. Three alternatives were presented; yes to Söderbron, no to Söderbron and a bridge over Garvareforsen.

The bridge opponents were heard the most

The issue quickly became infected.

– The public and local action groups were extremely active in their argumentation and above all, the bridge opponents appeared to be the most involved, writes the then street manager Ove Wigren in an email to SVT.

Two thirds of the municipality’s eligible to vote participated in the referendum. The result was strikingly clear, as almost 80 percent did not want a bridge.

Had to vacate the council

In March 1981, it was time for the council members to take a position on the issue. They did the opposite of what the masses wanted and decided that the Söderbron should be built, something that annoyed many.

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But before it had time to be hammered through, the municipal council was exposed to bomb threats and the premises needed to be evacuated. No bomb was found after police searched the premises, the meeting could continue and the bridge was hammered through.

“Brave local politicians”

Construction began in 1984 and in the autumn of 1986 it was time for the inauguration.

– I do not want to beat my chest for the person or people who will be honored for the creation of the Söderbron were far-sighted and brave local politicians who, despite the result of the referendum, decided to build the bridge, says Ove Wigren.

In 2020, it was 40 years since the referendum on the construction of the Söderbron took place. Photo: Godfred Epitime/SVT

In the clip, you see how the mood was when the politicians went on their own line.

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