A number of record-breaking traffic jams over the past week have drawn new attention to the bottlenecks created by Groningen’s current motorway infrastructure.
By Hans de Preter / Translation by Traci White
Groningen’s dilemma is twofold: plans to upgrade the southern portion of the current ringroad have been put on ice for the time being, and the local roads are already at full capacity. But two developments this week mean that a potential solution to both of these stumbling blocks may be a step closer.
In an effort to expand the motorways to handle growing traffic capacity, D66 municipal councillor Fleur Gräper is calling for a study into the impact of a new bypass on the western side of the city. If such a bypass were to be built, it would mean considerably shorter commutes to and from Friesland.
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the area being considered for the bypass is west of Hoogkerk between the N355 and the A7. If it is deemed feasible, the bypass could shorten travel time for traffic coming from the direction Drachten and heading toward the northern areas of the province of Groningen, including the Zernike campus and Eemshaven. The bypass could also alleviate some of the stress on the ring road near the Friesestraatweg.
Ring road construction
The roadworks on the existing ring road were put on hold when the contractors recognised that the costs were turning out to be much higher than anticipated. An advisory committee is currently re-evaluating the plans to see what the best approach is for the future.
The committee, which was created at the behest of Aanpak Ring Zuid and Combinatie Herepoort, is expected to share at least some of their findings before the end of 2018. The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the exact moment that the committee will publish their findings is deliberately not set in stone.
TU Delft professor of infrastructure Marcel Hertogh, who is a member of the committee, says, “This is a very large and complicated process, so that is not something that you can sort out in a matter of weeks. We have also been tasked with coming up with unanimous conclusions, so that also takes time. It’s hard to say exactly how much time that will take, but we want to formalise our findings as soon as possible and we intend to share our conclusions with the involved parties by the end of this year.”
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