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Author Topic: Longest planned freeway in the Netherlands finally opened to traffic  (Read 1912 times)

Chris

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The longest planned freeway / motorway in the Netherlands finally opened to traffic last night. It's the A4 motorway between Delft and Schiedam, and will provide a second link between The Hague and Rotterdam.

Some brief history;

* 1950: first discussed
* 1957: adopted in the freeway plan
* 1965: final EIS / record of decision
* 1968: construction started
* 1972: construction stopped
* 1976: parliament votes to cancel the project
* 1985: parliament votes to restart the project
* 1992: procedures initiated again
* 1998: funding removed by parliament
* 2006: agreement signed
* 2010: final EIS / record of decision
* 2012: construction start
* 2015: opening to traffic.

The freeway was the most discussed road project in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a very fragmented political spectrum, no party has ever obtained more than a third of the votes, so coalitions of 2-3 parties are standard here. Political agreement about the project was always swinging from one side to the other. Local politicians did not want to 'hear, see or smell' the freeway, which resulted in a 2 kilometer long tunnel and a 5 kilometer long trench in terrain that is best described as 'soup'. The construction cost for the 7 km / 4.5 mi project was € 658 million ($ 715 million), and no right-of-way had to be acquired, so it is pure construction cost.

The project was considered the ultimate battle between environmentalists and economic / mobility interests. Political compromise resulted in a freeway with 3 northbound and 2 southbound lanes. But there is space for six lanes with shoulders.

Some recent photos taken before opening:












AlexandriaVA

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Re: Longest planned freeway in the Netherlands finally opened to traffic
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 10:09:16 AM »

I like how the highway ends outside the city center in Rotterdam. In most American cities, freeways slice right through the center of the city. It looks like there are four-lane boulevards to get you from the freeway to the center of Rotterdam from the freeway; some of the lanes on the boulevards are bus lanes.
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Chris

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Re: Longest planned freeway in the Netherlands finally opened to traffic
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 12:31:35 PM »

The city center of Rotterdam was completely leveled in 1940, when it was bombed by the nazis. As a result, Rotterdam has a more spacious city center than other larger cities in the Netherlands, with a number of four-lane arterials, which aren't as common in cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht or The Hague.

However, the Netherlands generally has never built freeways through existing neighborhoods. All freeways that run through urban areas nowadays were built as greenfield projects. Only a short segment of A12 in The Hague (the westernmost part) was built through large-scale urban renewal that was much larger than the freeway right-of-way.

The Dutch population has grown much more after World War II than other countries in the region. It grew from 10 to 17 million since World War II, a much greater growth rate than Germany or Belgium. Dutch cities expanded greatly since the 1960s, but virtually all freeways were built over undeveloped land, even the ones that today run through dense built-up areas, like A10 in Amsterdam or A20 in Rotterdam.

A4 through Schiedam / Vlaardingen (both suburbs of Rotterdam) was built on an undeveloped strip of land that was preserved during the construction of the neighborhoods on either side, in the 1960s. The Netherlands has always had highly regulated spatial planning.

The Ghostbuster

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Re: Longest planned freeway in the Netherlands finally opened to traffic
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 08:10:11 PM »

I guess it took them long enough!
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