Fast lane to better regional mobility in Hungary’s Lake Balaton Lake area
Planned upgrades, motorways and safety features along the main road connecting the historic towns of Székesfehérvár and Veszprém are linked to wider development plans in the Lake Balaton area of Hungary.
Traffic, noise and pollution are a major problem along sections of the main road connecting the towns of Székesfehérvár and Veszprém in Hungary’s Central Transdanubian region. A major EU-backed project plans to set that straight with a series of upgrades to sections and junctions along the M7 and M8 motorways, including new roadworks and junctions as well as landscaping and drainage works.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu, who approved this investment, said the project will help to remove traffic bottlenecks, improve road safety and have a positive impact on the environment by reducing noise and air pollution.
The overall redevelopment of the M8 started in 2001, with roadworks on earlier sections including a bypass connection to the M7 motorway, completed in 2005, and a nearly 10 km section between Székesfehérvár and Várpalota finalised in 2006. The new programme, covering around 27 km of TEN-T expressway, is set to complete these works.
A two-way, dual-lane motorway will be built with graded and separated junctions (or interchanges) creating homogeneous and safe traffic conditions between the two important settlements and the M7 motorway. Hungarian authorities have committed to complete the remaining work on phase two in the programming period 2014-2020 by the end of 2018.
Three sections, two phases, multiple operations
The project is divided into three key sections and two phases along the M8: section one is the Székesfehérvár western bypass; section two is the Várpalota southern bypass; and section three completes the upgraded road from Várpalota to Veszprém.
The bulk of the funded work concerns the sections between Székesfehérvár and Várpalota. Major work is underway in this phase, including site preparation, water collection and drainage, road construction and technical works, landscaping and environmental protection. The project phases are divided so that there is no financial and technical overlap between the two phases. The project as a whole will be completed by the end of 2018, and expects to generate its own revenue streams in the form of road tolls.
Benefits to locals, tourists and industry
The developments are taking place in two counties – Veszprém and Fejér – with the principal goal of improving intra- and inter-regional road transport. The main benefits of the project are improved accessibility, time savings, and reduced accident risk and environmental impacts. Benefits are also expected to be felt by industry, tourism and the local population living in Székesfehérvár and in the wider East Balaton area.
With 195 km of shoreline, Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe. The lake is 14 km across at its widest point and over 12 metres down in the deepest section. The shallower water of the southern shore is popular with families and the northern shore has long beaches.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Sections of the main road no. 8 between Székesfehérvár and Veszprém” is EUR 142 312 328, with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 95 198 362 through the “Integrated Transport” Operational Programme, under the priority “Improving the international road accessibility of the country and the regional centres” for the 2007-2013 programming period.