New Coastal Highway is using advanced, innovative technology to ensure transport safety

Between Saint-Denis and La Possession, the new four-lane highway runs 200 metres out from the coastline. It replaces the current Route Nationale 1 and will include special bus and cycle lanes.

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A French overseas department in the Indian Ocean, Réunion is an island covering 2 512 km² and has about 850 000 inhabitants. Around 600 000 vehicles a day travel the 13 km separating Saint-Denis from La Possession and the area of Le Port. This congested, dangerous, two-lane road is built along the foot of unstable cliffs and lies at the mercy of storm surges. Yet it is a strategic route linking the commercial port to the administrative capital and Roland Garros international airport.

Safety and speed: expected improvements

Route Nationale 1 is currently being replaced with an impressive new road built partly on piles, which is able to withstand major natural geological and oceanic events. The new 12.3 km highway includes two causeways (1 km and 5.7 km in length) and a 5.3 km viaduct. The project, which began in 2012, includes special lanes for buses and cyclists, which in the longer term will be compatible with a separate busway.

The new coastal route will benefit a good number of people, since it links Saint-Denis – the administrative centre and largest city on the island – to La Possession, a residential town, and nearby Le Port, a commercial hub. All the areas around these three municipalities are seeing a rise in their numbers of inhabitants, as the population of the island as a whole is growing all the time.

The first stage of an ambitious project

The initial stages of the project are being supported by the ERDF:

  • project management studies (choice of technical solutions, organisation of the tendering process, applications for administrative authorisations etc.);
  • the initial works, i.e. 12.63 km of fully secured highway and 12.63 km of busway.

ome 18 700 jobs are expected to be created during the project implementation phase.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment in the ‘New Coastal Highway’ project (1st tranche) is EUR 1 225 403 968. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributed EUR 80 000 000 for the period 2007–2013 under the ‘Réunion’ Regional Operational Programme', via the priority axis ‘Improving the competitiveness of the territory: organising the territory on the basis of new performance parameters’.

Draft date

04/08/2014