The fast cycle route Maastricht-Sittard
The Province of Limburg, the municipalities of Maastricht, Meerssen, and Beek, and the Maastricht Bereikbaar Programme Office signed an agreement in 2017 to develop a fast cycle route between Maastricht and Sittard-Geleen. The building company 'Dura Vermeer Infra Regionale Projecten' is ready to begin construction works for the first phase. The aim of the first phase is to improve the cycling route between Beek and Meerssen. These construction works are expected to last until the end of June 2018.
Construction phase 1a: the Beek–Meerssen route
For several weeks, preparations have been ongoing for the first construction phase of the fast cycle route. These preparations included moving cables and pipes at Europalaan in Beek and at Vliegveldweg in Meerssen. The actual construction works will start in early March. ‘By implementing this first phase, we are taking the first significant step towards a fast cycle route between Sittard and Maastricht. This route will be a valuable addition to the existing bicycle infrastructure. It is perfect for commuters and sorely needed to encourage people to adopt smart travelling solutions,’ noted John Aarts, the chairman of Maastricht Bereikbaar and the Municipality of Maastricht’s chair of the executive committee on mobility.
Disruptions such as regular road closures and traffic diversions will be inevitable. The municipalities and contractors will announce these closures and traffic diversions in advance. Dura Vermeer will also use the ‘Bouwapp’ to keep everyone informed of the progression of the construction works. You can find an overview of the current traffic conditions in and around Maastricht on Maastricht Bereikbaar's Smart Map.
Encouraging bicycle and e-bike use
The fast cycle route will really help to improve the cycling conditions in the region while encouraging more use of bicycles and e-bikes. This fast cycle route will provide a complete alternative to the car for commuters to and from Maastricht as well as other towns and cities along the route. If more people use their cars less often for their work commute, traffic would decrease, as would CO2 emissions. This would improve both how accessible Maastricht is, as well as the quality of life of Maastricht's residents. More exercise will also have a positive effect on people's health.
Quick, smooth, and safe cycling
Thanks to the improved infrastructure, cyclists will have faster, smoother, and safer cycling routes in the future. To turn this into a reality, we will widen the cycling paths and construct safer bicycle crossings. At Maastrichterlaan in Beek, we will build a new bicycle crossing to replace the crossing at the A2 viaduct. At Europalaan, a new cycle bridge will provide a direct connection without the need for traffic lights, which will improve the flow of traffic through the intersection. The bicycle crossing at the Vliegveldweg-Nieuwe Vliekerweg junction in Meerssen will be improved and cyclists will now be granted right of way at the following roundabouts: Bunderstraat, Hoolhoes, and Maastrichterweg-Sint Josephstraat. Vliegveldweg will be a cycle street, where bicycles have right of way.
On the east side of the A2 motorway
The fast cycle route will be on the east side of the A2 motorway, primarily using existing infrastructure. In the past, multiple routes on the west side and the east side of the A2 motorway were evaluated following opposition from residents. Research conducted by an independent advice agency showed that the 'east side option' scored highest on several aspects, such as directness of route, safety, and comfort. This option also fits best with the current use of bicycles in the area. Based on discussions between residents and Meerssen's municipal assembly, a final route was chosen that fulfils the wish to keep Vliegveldweg accessible for motorized traffic. Extra roadside lights and an electronic signal panel will also be installed.
The next phases
In the meantime, the participating authorities will continue planning the next phases of the fast cycle route regarding a section between Meerssen and Maastricht that connects at P+R Maastricht Noord, as well as a section between Beek and Sittard-Geleen. Research is ongoing concerning the possibilities for the route at these two sections. We expect more clarity to be provided in the summer of 2018.