The railway plan for the West Link Project and the Olskroken grade-separated junction has entered into legal force. Last Thursday, the Swedish Government decided to reject the appeals that had been submitted.
The Swedish Transport Administration ratified the railway plan over a year ago and has been working on it since 2010, when the West Link Project received funding via the West Swedish Agreement. A railway plan gives the Transport Administration the right to the land required in order to build the West Link and is also a technical description of the infrastructure.
- One of the final steps of a long planning process is now over. To me, this feels historic. says Bo Lindgren, project manager and now senior advisor at the Transport Administration.
Bo Lindgren has been working on the planning of the West Link Projects since the decision to route the tunnel via Haga and Korsvägen was made in 2007. However, he has followed the project closely through all the inquiries from the end of the 1980s, when the first discussions concerning a railway tunnel through Gothenburg began.
- The legislation surrounding railway construction is very strictly regulated, continues Bo Lindgren. This is a careful and extensive process that involves first looking at various alternative routes and then deciding against various alternatives before arriving at the final decision.
The alternative chosen became the West Link Project, which was then scrutinised by the Government in a process that involves considering the application in accordance with the Swedish Environmental Code and in which central government bodies participate. This scrutiny resulted in the Government deciding in 2014 to give the go-ahead the West Link Project provided it is built and planned on the basis of six conditions relating to how the cultural environment, mass transit, energy use, flooding issues and safety issues are to be dealt with.
- The environmental impact has been in focus throughout the entire planning process in a close partnership with the county administrative board and the City of Gothenburg", says Bo Lindgren. Before the plan could be put forward for inspection in late 2014/early 2015, the county administrative board had to approve the environmental impact assessment for the West Link Project, which it did. The county administrative board also approved the plan before the Transport Administration could ratify it. Of course a project as large as this, which has an impact on Gothenburg for a long time, has to be scrutinised very carefully, says Bo.
In principle, one final stage of this scrutiny remains, that of the Land and Environment Court, which involves the conditions that are to apply to the construction process itself. The plan is for the main hearing to take place in October 2017.