Prime Minister Jean Castilles on Saturday inaugurated the A355, a bypass motorway west of Strasbourg, built by Arcos, a subsidiary of Vinci, the conclusion of a project that has been discussed for more than 40 years and which has been the subject of many disputes. The Prime Minister announced before an audience of elected officials and representatives of the Cabinet that this opening “represents the continuation of an old project whose origins date back to 1973”, supported by the state “without fault for all these years”. The Vinci Group, including Xavier Huillard, CEO, and Pierre Coppey, President of Vinci Autoroutes, but in the absence of environmental leaders from the city.
This 24 kilometer stretch of highway represents an investment of €553 million and is the subject of a 54-year concession signed between the state and Yenshi. Environmental organizations doubled remedies to prevent its realization and the ZAD was evacuated in September 2018. Presented by Pierre Cope as “the largest motorway project in France in recent years”, the work is supposed to make it possible to restore part of the overland transit crossing Alsace from north to south, resting the road The A35 motorway serves the Alsatian capital.
7000 heavy goods vehicles expected per day
“This road is crowded, and therefore sometimes dangerous,” added Jan Castex. It accommodates more than 160,000 light vehicles and 19,000 heavy cargo vehicles per day, while it is designed to accommodate a maximum of 80,000 vehicles. According to the prime minister, the bypass corridor should allow the deportation of “17,000 cars and 7,000 heavy goods vehicles” per day.
Pierre Cope lauded the construction of this “low-carbon highway”, “high environmental protection”, made possible by an “unprecedented device to protect biodiversity and offset” the environmental impact. “The environmental and environmental benefits of the operation will allow for a very noticeable improvement in air quality throughout the Strasbourg metropolitan area,” added Jean Castex. “I am claiming and fully accepting this achievement.”
Discussion about the balance sheet for the highway
At the same time, a rally of opponents of this highway was organized near another part, which gathered “a hundred” people according to the organizers, including a number of mayors of neighboring municipalities. The environmentalist Mayor of Strasbourg, Jean Barsigian, like other elected officials in the capital, boycotted the opening ceremony, calling the project “useless” and an “environmental disaster”, in daily statements. Latest news from Alsace.
In July, the Strasbourg Administrative Court, brought by the Alsace Nature association, acknowledged that there were “deficiencies” in the site’s license application file, in particular regarding the effects of the A355 “on human health” or “air quality” or effect “on the soil and subsoil”. “. The judge had ordered the suspension of the assignment, but the state appealed, and the Court of Appeal canceled this suspension, without adjudicating the shortcomings. The A355 motorway will start operating on December 17th.