The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Environmental Organizations Collect Signatures Against Highway Expansion

The Swiss Parliament's plans to expand the motorway network have met with resistance. The Swiss Traffic Club (VCS) and the organisation Umverkehr have launched a petition for a referendum as announced on Tuesday. Opponents of the proposal believe it is essential that voters have the final say on the motorway expansion. Following the clear yes to the Climate Protection Law on June 18th, a halt to road construction is now necessary. The VCS calls for a "stop to motorway construction". The 2023 expansion of national roads is seen as "excessive, outdated and overpriced". In particular, the enormous costs of motorway expansion are met with incomprehension. Wider roads will inevitably lead to more traffic, longer traffic jams, more air pollution, noise and increasing CO2 emissions.

A broad alliance is resisting the plans. The VCS, supported by a wide range of organisations, parties and associations, including the Alpine Initiative, Greenpeace, SP, Green Party and Umverkehr, is aiming to collect the 50,000 signatures needed for a referendum by the end of the year. The collection period ends on January 18th, 2024. Opponents argue that the billions planned for motorways should be better invested in promoting public transport, walking and cycling. Motorway expansion is seen as outdated, damaging to the climate and biodiversity, and destroying valuable cultural land.

The 2023 expansion of national roads includes the A1 between Le Vengeron GE and Nyon VD and between Schönbühl BE and Kirchberg BE being widened to six lanes, eight lanes between Bern-Wankdorf and Schönbühl, a third tube of the Rosenberg tunnel on the A1 near St. Gallen and a second tube of the Fäsenstaub tunnel on the A4 in Schaffhausen. In addition, the A2 east tangent in the Basel area is to be permanently relieved of through traffic with a new Rhine tunnel between Birsfelden BL and Kleinhüningen BS.nn

©Keystone/SDA

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