5 k tunnel to beat Rotterdam congestion

Industry Database

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is set to provide a €330m loan for a tunnel link to alleviate traffic around the busiest port in Europe.

According to the EIB, the building of the Blankenburg tunnel connection between the Netherlands’ A15 and A20 motorways will “unlock congested traffic and improve accessibility to the Port of Rotterdam” (also in the Netherlands).

“By linking the existing motorways, which run parallel to the port on the northern and southern side, traffic from both sides can benefit from an extra crossing point of the Scheur River, in the Maas river delta,” the bank said, adding that this will improve the flow of goods from the port.

The EIB noted in a release that motorways near the port leading to the Dutch city of Amsterdam and the country of Belgium will see traffic on them eased by the tunnel connection, which will be situated near the municipality of Rotterdam.

The loan to the project benefits from the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the central part of the European Commission Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the “Juncker Plan” after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who announced it in 2014.

The construction project is designed as a 20-year-long design, build, finance and maintain, availability-based public-private partnership concession.

It involves the building of almost a 5-kilometre stretch of motorway, including submerged and land-based tunnels, but the majority of it will be “submerged” as viewed from ground level and therefore mostly out of sight.

Commenting on the development, EIB vice-president Vazil Hudak said: “This project is of major importance to the Port of Rotterdam and the wider area.

“Rotterdam is the busiest port in Europe, but the goods don’t stop there.

“Therefore, the bank is glad it can help improve road access to the port, but this will also improve traffic conditions for those visiting or transiting through the area.”

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