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Germany: "An acceleration of planning for up to 144 motorway expansion projects is a fatal signal


The coaltion committee met and agreed on a reform package for faster infrastructure expansion. Road projects should be faster - especially in NRW.

The coalition committee of SPD, Greens and FDP has agreed on a faster expansion of certain motorway projects. A list of 144 projects that are considered to be of "overriding public interest" is circulating. This wording could, for example, mean less environmental testing. Dilapidated bridges should be able to be renewed without a new plan approval process.

The projects can all be found in the Federal Transport Routes Plan 2030. These could now be "implemented super quickly", according to the Federal Ministry of Transport. The focus is on eliminating bottlenecks. And: Preservation and renovation should have priority over new construction. The projects should be carried out in agreement with the federal states.
The focus is on extensions and node expansion

Of the 144 projects, 67 - and thus almost half - are in NRW. Work is already underway on many of the projects, such as the major construction site around the Leverkusen bridge or on the A33 near Bielefeld/Brackwede. Others are still in preparation, such as the removal of bottlenecks on the A3 between Königsforst and the Cologne-Heumar triangle, which is classified as having a "high" need.

The focus of the work is the expansion to six, eight or even ten lanes as well as the expansion of junctions, for example by so-called high-flyers, which no longer have to be threaded in at motorway junctions as in the previous form of a cloverleaf.


NRW Minister of Transport Oliver Krischer is relaxed about the results of the coalition committee and would like to take a look at the projects first: "If I understand the federal government's proposals correctly, this is all about expansion measures. You're very welcome to talk about that," said the Greens on Wednesday in Düsseldorf. He understands the federal government in such a way that it is "explicitly not about building new motorways".


"In many places in North Rhine-Westphalia, expansion measures and improvements to motorway junctions are definitely sensible measures, where in principle there is nothing to object to. We just have to take a close look at it," said the minister. "For us, it's above all about maintaining and renovating before building new ones, that we maintain the substance. If this is accelerated, then we will very quickly come to an agreement with the federal government."
Criticism: "There is nothing to be seen here of the traffic turnaround and energy turnaround"

By the way: In the case of new motorway construction, it should be examined in future how the area next to it can be used for solar systems or wind turbines. "Not a kilometer of motorway should be planned without exhausting the possibilities of generating renewable energies," says the traffic light paper.



Claudia Kemmert:
"Simply building solar panels next to it is like trying to change your diet, but in the end you just put a lettuce leaf in the burger. There is nothing to be seen here of a real energy transition or transport transition," criticized the economist and energy expert Claudia Kemfert. According to Linken boss Janine Wissler, this idea borders on "real satire".


Olaf Bandt, Chairman of the German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), does not shy away from criticizing the traffic light plans: "An acceleration of planning for up to 144 motorway expansion projects is a fatal signal in times of the climate crisis. Motorway expansion involves considerable destruction of nature , more CO2 emissions from construction and more traffic It is to be hoped that the federal states will put a stop to this symbolic policy.








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