Starting on Friday, preparations for building the lowered portion of the southern ring road in Groningen will get underway. Motorists will have to follow detours for the coming six weeks.
There will be partial road closures from the 16th of July though the 21st of August, and other road works in the area will continue in the subsequent weeks. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that around 2,500 meters of sheet piling will be driven 32 meters into the ground along the ring road over the summer. The first step in the process is setting up the construction site, and then the consortium behind the plans, Combinatie Herepoort, will proceed with building an 1,100-meter-long lowered portion of the motorway.
The ring road between the Julianaplein and the Europaplein will be completely closed in the direction of Hoogezand, and vehicles will be redirected along the northern section of the ring road. Dagblad van het Noorden has a detailed week-by-week map of which areas along the ring road are likely to be impacted by construction noise. Earlier in June, the bike path between the Papiermolen swimming pool and the Hereweg was closed in anticipation of the road construction.
Although the ring road construction will inevitably cause noise pollution in the short term, the long term objective of the new design is to decrease traffic noise: according to the Aanpak Ring Zuid website, so-called “quiet asphalt” will be used and noise barriers will be built near schools and homes. The lowered section of the road will be lined with sound-absorbing walls.
The southern section of the ring road was built on a dike, but a portion of the road will be lowered once the ring road fully reopens. Clearcutting of trees along the existing road way has been going on over the past couple of years – Combinatie Herepoort says that they plan to plant two new trees for each one cut down due to the project.
The roadworks were originally scheduled to take place last summer, but they were called off due to safety concerns. Construction works were put on hold altogether late last year because of differences of opinion among the involved parties. The ring road construction is not expected to be completed until 2024.
Photo source: Google Maps