The Gelderland provincial executive does not want a new route around the Wageningen campus. This is a surprising new twist in a saga that goes back some time.
The provincial executive of Gelderland wants to solve the traffic congestion on the Mansholtlaan by improving existing roads. The executive announced this yesterday, thus sweeping the alternative of a new road around the campus periphery off the table. Wageningen municipality and the residents of Noord-West neighbourhood will be pleased with this outcome.
The provincial executive’s decision is surprising. It was the province that steered things towards a ring road from the start, while a majority of Wageningen councillors strongly opposed the idea. When the two could not agree, the province took over. And that has led to a decision in favour of improving the existing roads.
According to the executive, this is the option with the most popular support, even though the campus route scores better on several counts, as an environmental impact study showed. The differences are not very big, however. Additional research also revealed that the campus route would pose legal problems. The new route clashes with the nature conservation efforts around the boundaries of the campus.
Part of the improvements to the existing route will be a new underpass on the Nijenoord Allee at the junction with the Churchillweg. Cyclists crossing the Nijenoord Allee heading to and from the campus will stay at road level while through car traffic will take the underpass. This is a key feature of the plan, and a new and expensive one.
The decision in favour of the existing route has major consequences for WUR. The campus route would have passed along the western boundary of the campus, close to the third education building, and some of WUR’s livestock research sheds would have become unusable or would be demolished. In that respect, the development is positive. The new proposal also provides for an access road to the campus on the western side.
The decision in favour of the existing route is an expensive one, though. The total costs of the plan come to 32-38 million euros, excluding VAT. That is nearly twice the 20 million reserved for the project. The main reason for that is the new underpass at the Churchillweg junction, which will cost 12.5 million. Wageningen municipality has 6 million to contribute. The province will have to cough up the rest of the extra funding.