Provincial Executive Committee opts for Baexem ring road alternative 3c

January 23, 2014
On the basis of research results and recommendations contributed in the planning process of the transitional step in the EIA procedure, the Provincial Executive Committee has opted for alternative 3c. As part of a team, together with the Province of Limburg and the Antea Group, MTD landschapsarchitecten has worked on a transitional step in the EIA procedure, which aimed at providing clarity about the various alternatives for the differentiated fields noise, traffic, ecology and spatial quality. 
After intensive collaborations with stakeholders and residents, all the alternatives have been optimised. By way of a comprehensive approach MTD has created a space for living which arose after resolving the traffic problems, with opportunities for development, cultural history, recreation and the strengthening of the identity of Baexem as a meaningful culture-historical village in Limburg. Through visualising the alternatives on equal terms, in a sketch design and visualizations from the same viewpoints, a transparent  insight has been provided into the kind of impact that the ring road could possibly have on the village and its surrounding landscape. Alternative 3c (a and b had already been devised in the first EIA phase) will mean that the N280 near Baexem will be shifted slightly southwards. The two-laned ring road will be a sunken underpass below Kasteelweg, a prominent culture-historical connection between some Baexem neighbourhoods. This sunken positioning has a favourable impact on reducing noise and the fitting‑in into the environment. The responsible Executive Committee member Patrick van der Broeck, says that it was a difficult choice. “Various alternatives of the N280 have been examined in the last two years. On the basis of a range of disciplines we've taken a closer look at what impact the construction of the ring road will have on the liveability (vibrations, noise and air quality), nature, landscape, culture-historical values and spatial perception of the village.” The alternatives have been optimised in liaison with stakeholders from Baexem, which finally left only alternatives 3c and 5e. “Both alternatives comply with the aims and objectives”, Van der Broeck admits. “It was not so easy, but after having considered all the options and having studied the brief from the Provincial Council very carefully, we've ascertained that alternative 3c is also compliant with all the limiting conditions.” The aspects in terms of air quality, noise and vibrations didn't appear to be differentiating amongst the alternatives relative to each other. However, it is clear that the noise impact would improve in both alternatives. From an external safety point of view both alternatives offer a chance to reduce the number of accidents. So here there is no evidence whatsoever of a relevant differentiation. The difference lies in the preservation of nature, the landscape and agricultural land. Option 3c is the most compliant to this condition. It is quite clear that the improved N280 will make the region more accessible. Baexem has shown an above average involvement in its approach to the N280. The ring road ostensibly has an impact on everybody. “We've endeavoured to get everyone involved in this project. Of course we didn't always agree with each other, but we've cooperated with each other in a respectful manner and have jointly sought the best alternatives. It's a job done well!” The Provincial Executive Committee's proposal to the Provincial Council is to elaborate 3c as the preferential alternative. On 7 February 2014 the Provincial Council will take its final decision.

More information is available at the website of the Province of Limburg.