A2 motorway expansion blocked as 'unsafe'

15th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Council of State has blocked the planned expansion of the A2 motorway between Den Bosch and Eindhoven on grounds that safety could not be adequately guaranteed.

15 September 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Council of State has blocked the planned expansion of the A2 motorway between Den Bosch and Eindhoven on grounds that safety could not be adequately guaranteed.

The Transport Ministry had planned to widen the motorway from two to three lanes by narrowing the existing lanes and using the emergency stopping lane as a peak-hour lane. The ministry had intended to apply an emergency law regulating road construction projects.

But about 20 organisations, including the A2 Nuisance Foundation and two residents groups, protested against the plans and lodged an appeal with the Council of State, which advises the government on its legislation, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.

The ministry said that a speed limit of 100kmh instead of 120kmh would be imposed on the stretch of motorway during peak hour periods, but the council said safety was at risk because the lanes would remain narrowed outside of those periods when the 120kmh limit would be re-allowed.

The council also said research had indicated that an 80kmh speed limit should be imposed on lanes with a width of 3.10m. In some places, the A2 lanes were to be reduced to that width.
Furthermore, emergency services could not be guaranteed access to the motorway and vehicles involved in accidents.

The alternative measures that the ministry proposed — such as using roadway shoulders, driving on the opposite side of the motorway or driving through the traffic — were considered unsatisfactory.

In other findings, the council said that insufficient research had been conducted into the impact on air pollution, whether it be positive or negative. It also said that an environmental impact report should have been drawn up.

It refused to rule out the possibility that even if the motorway expansion could be carried out without the construction of more asphalt, the project could still bring about negative environmental affects. It gave as example noise pollution, traffic safety, air quality and environmental protection.

The stretch of the motorway intended for the project is 23km long and is located between the Vught and Ekkersweijer junctions. The width of the lanes was to be reduced from 3.5m to about 3.35m and in some places 3.1m.

The peak hour lanes would have been opened in times when more than 3,000 cars per lane were passing a given point every hour.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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