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The end of the Lobau tunnel seems to be fixed: the project has disappeared from the ASFINAG construction program

The end of the Lobau tunnel seems to be fixed: the project has disappeared from the ASFINAG construction program

Did the Green Minister Gewessler win after all? The new construction program of ASFINAG, which was drawn up taking into account the climate check of your ministry, suggests that the Lobau tunnel is no longer included. Headwind comes from Michael Ludwig and Johanna Mikl-Leitner, they continue to insist that the Lobau tunnel be built.

editorial staff
14 December 2021 19:30

The dispute over the Lobau tunnel and other road projects took on another dimension on Tuesday: Accordingly, the controversial projects are not in Asfinag’s new construction program, which was decided by a majority in the company’s supervisory board on Tuesday. Asfinag presented the program to the supervisory board “on the basis of the legal framework (…) taking into account the evaluation and the targets set by the climate protection ministry”.

The decision of the supervisory board means the formal stop of those motorway projects where the evaluation by Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) last gave a negative result. This applies, among other things, to the controversial Lobau tunnel in Vienna or the S37 between Carinthia and Styria. An Asfinag spokeswoman told the APA that ongoing proceedings, for example on water rights, would be continued in the interests of legal security.

In a statement sent to the APA, Gewessler again defended the halt to the controversial road construction project: “With the evaluation of the Asfinag construction program, we checked: Are decisions that we made twenty or thirty years ago still sensible today. Or do we need better solutions today to be fit for the future, to protect our climate and to preserve our unique nature. ” The construction program includes projects for the next six years and is based on the results of the climate check.

Climate check with “clear results”

According to the minister, the climate check had clear results: “The experts tell us: More roads lead to more traffic. For this reason, we will no longer pursue the Lobau motorway with its tunnel through a sensitive nature reserve. Because once the excavators drive through this untouched nature, it is lost forever. Once nature has been concreted over, it never comes back. ” The program that has now been decided is “an important step, because this building program also includes money for the planning of better, future-proof alternatives”.

Gewessler said that she had invited Vienna’s City Councilor for Transport and Planning Ulli Sima (SPÖ) and Lower Austrian Mobility Councilor Ludwig Schleritzko (ÖVP) to plan these alternatives. “Because I hope that the experts can now start work quickly and work out the best solutions together. For the people in the region and for the protection of our soil and our climate, ”said the Environment and Transport Minister.

Ludwig and Co. insist on the construction of the Lobau tunnel

Meanwhile, the top political and economic representatives from Vienna and Lower Austria insisted again on the construction of the Lobau tunnel: In joint broadcasts, the Lower Austrian Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP), the President of the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Wolfgang Ecker, asked Vienna’s Governor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) as well as the President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, Walter Ruck, once again enforced compliance with the law when building the tunnel. The Viennese and Lower Austrian representatives recalled that the Lobau tunnel had been approved through many procedures, including an environmental impact assessment. It is anchored in the Federal Roads Act and in the – previous – Asfinag construction program. “This important gap in the regional ring must therefore be implemented immediately,” they appealed.

ASFINAG will increasingly invest in renewable energies and e-charging stations

With the construction program that has now been adapted, a majority of the Supervisory Board meetings also decided on medium-term planning. The chairman of the supervisory board, Christa Geyer, emphasized in a press release: “With the construction program adopted today, we have laid the foundations for the work of one of the most important infrastructure companies in the country for the next few years. This will achieve two central goals: We will continue to guarantee a reliable, high-quality road network and at the same time take the next big step towards positioning Asfinag as a mobility partner for the whole of Austria. ” The company will remain “with investments of more than seven billion euros in the next six years, a reliable partner for the economy in the country”. Already now, more than four billion euros would flow into the maintenance of the existing motorway network. “In the future, in addition to the construction projects that have been decided, there will also be increased investments in renewable energies and a massive expansion of e-charging stations throughout Austria,” said Asfinag board members Josef Fiala and Hartwig Hufnagl. (APA / red)

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