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Trees along Vasagatan. Photo: Rafael Palomo
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Environmental work continues

In November, the County Administrative Board approved the environmental impact assessment, EIA, for the West Link. The project now continues to work actively with the environmental issues prior to the construction and operation stages of the project.

The Swedish Transport Administration has for a number of years worked on the West Link project EIA, which was approved by the County Administrative Board in November 2014. The fact that the EIA has been approved, however, does not mean that the environmental work now is finished. Quite the opposite, in fact – the Transport Administration is actively involved in environmental issues in readiness for the construction and operation phases of the West Link project.

As environmental specialist for the West Link project, Mira Andersson Ovuka, is working intensively on the environmental aspects of the project.

How are you continuing to work on environmental issues now that the EIA has been approved?

– We have an environmental checklist from the EIA that we will be working on both now and in the future. An approved EIA for a railway plan does not mean that the environmental work is finished and that we can relax. The closer we come the construction stage, the greater the focus will be on the environmental issues. Since we are working in a city and the construction sites will affect a lot of people, we constantly need to work on these issues in order to find optimal building methods from an environmental point of view.

Preconditions stipulated by the government

At the same time as the government – following examination of the project in accordance with Chapter 17 of the Environmental Code – granted the West Link project permissibility in July 2014, it also stipulated six preconditions that were to be met by the Swedish Transport Administration. These preconditions are for a limited impact on the cultural environment, the management of blasted rock and soil material, restricted energy usage and the emission of gases and air pollutants that have an impact on the environment, a decrease in the risk of flooding, protective measures for surface- and ground-water sources, and a safety plan for the West Link project.

How do you intend to continue working on the six preconditions set by the government?

– We will, for example, in cooperation with the city authorities draw up plans for how the areas surrounding the West Link stations are to be restored after the construction work, so that the history of the city is retained in the best way possible. We are also working together with the City of Gothenburg on finding a functional use for the surplus rock and soil materials that are generated in conjunction with construction of the West Link project. The material could, for example, be used for the Port of Gothenburg and its future extension, says Mira Andersson Ovuka.

– We will also continue to work further on climate calculations for the project. The calculations are a basic starting point in order for us to be able to make demands for an energy plan and reductions in the use of climate-impacting gases in the tender enquiry documents that we will be distributing to the market during the next few years. Another part of the environmental work is the control programme for surface and ground water that we are in the process of drawing up and which will be tried in the Land and Environmental Court, adds Mira.