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France's first "eco-motorway" opens today at noon

The 101km long A19 Artenay-Courtenay autoroute opens today, four months ahead of schedule.

Linking the A10, A6 and A77, the A19 will complete the outer bypass of the greater Paris region. It is also the final link in a major east-west corridor for vehicles wishing to drive between Nantes and Strasbourg without travelling through Paris.

The road has been dubbed France’s first “eco-motorway” in recognition of the environmental mitigation that has taken place along the route. It is also the first motorway in France to feature a hard shoulder demarked by a contiunous solid white line.

The project was also France’s biggest motorway project. In all, 8,000 people were involved in the project, which represented 4M man hours of work. Executed in record time – with just four years between signature of the concession contract and bringing the motorway into service – concessionaire Arcour claims it illustrates the soundness and effectiveness of its operator-designer-builder business model.

Arcour, a wholly owned subsidiary of VINCI, is the concession operator of the A19 Artenay–Courtenay. It is in charge of financing, design and construction of the motorway, and awarded its operation to Cofiroute.

The A19’s environmental credentials are laregly in the form of the steps taken to protect water resources. No water is allowed to run-off the motorway without treatment. To achieve this, it has 107 run-off treatment basins - or more than one per kilometre. In addition, it is equipped with animal crossings and 200,000 trees have been planted along its route.

A safe motorway, the A19 is innovative in that it is the first in France to test continuous hard shoulder markings – in common with other European countries – in order to provide greater safety for personnel working on the motorway.

A user-friendly motorway, the A19 is equipped with eco-designed rest and service areas. In addition, Autoroute FM 107.7, France’s leading motorway radio station, will broadcast 24 hours a day for the benefit of private car and HGV drivers.

Depending on the time of year, the A19 Artenay–Courtenay is expected to be used by an average of 8,000 to 9,000 vehicles a day, of which 20% will be heavy goods vehicles. The majority will be transit traffic, with about 60% of vehicles travelling from one end of the A19 to the other without using the interchanges along its route. On a local basis, the A19 will alleviate the heavy HGV transit traffic on the RN 60 trunk road between Orleans and Courtenay.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • 101km motorway for 9000 veh/day? The village I live in has +12,000 veh/day with 12% HGV's and we can't even get a bypass!

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