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Polaris of Enlightenment

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Stockholm bike lanes widened for 50 million – need to be redone

Published 23 November 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Västerbron bridge at sunset.

Stockholm taxpayers paid more than 50 million Swedish kronor to widen the pedestrian and bicycle paths on Västerbron. However, the work proved unsuccessful and will have to be completely redone.

52 million kronor had been earmarked for widening and resurfacing the pedestrian and bicycle paths on the bridge. Last summer, the lanes on the east side were completed – but the asphalt was uneven and rocky, and had to be ground down shortly thereafter, local newspaper Mitt i Stockholm reports.

Despite assurances from officials that the same mistake would not be repeated, work on the west side of the bridge also failed, and the contractor’s work was deemed unsatisfactory.

“Politicians approved the widening in December 2021. But at the same time, a study was underway for a larger renovation. The blue-green majority at the time did not want to wait for the results. A year later, it was announced that the outermost parts of the bridge, where the pedestrian and bicycle lanes are located, were in such poor condition that they would have to be completely replaced within 10-15 years”, the newspaper writes.

“No money wasted”

– The assessment was that the benefits of widening the pedestrian and bicycle lanes until then were worth the investment. Especially since bicycle traffic has increased so much that the previous width of the lane was not sufficient for today’s and the next decade’s expected bicycle flows, says Sam Victorin, a communicator at the Transportation Department.

The fact that the outer parts of the bridge were in such bad condition that they would have to be demolished and rebuilt within 10-15 years, and that the pedestrian and bicycle paths would have to be rebuilt – despite the fact that it has already cost more than 50 million kroner – is not considered “wasted money,” according to Daniel Helldén (MP), who was traffic councillor at the time.

– What the authorities said at first was that the whole bridge needed to be replaced, but on closer inspection it turned out that it was in better condition than expected and that major renovations were 10-30 years away. That was much longer than originally thought. So we decided it was worthwhile to widen it… Even 15 years is quite a long time in the sense that we get good bicycle flows, which Stockholm needs now.

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