Spatial planning and permits for provincial roadworks in Utrecht

Traffic delays for road users and local residents are usually unavoidable during roadworks. Closing roads or lanes and creating detours is often the only option to enable the work to be carried out safely. The consequences are traffic jams, nuisance for local residents and road users - and, despite all safety measures, often unsafe traffic situations as well. Utrecht, the biggest traffic interchange in the Netherlands, faces a huge challenge in ‘working towards accessibility’.

When implementing roadworks on the N204, N212, N224, N226 and N236 provincial roads around Utrecht, it was important that traffic be delayed as little as possible. To achieve this, the Province of Utrecht asked Witteveen+Bos for advice on spatial planning and permits.

The province is faced with the task of carrying out maintenance works on provincial roads in various locations around Utrecht. This includes, among other things, constructing cycle paths and turn-offs and replacing sewerage on the N204, N212, N224, N226 and N236. The social costs of traffic delays are high: implementing traffic-diversion measures and traffic jams cost money. The number of residents, jobs and visitors to the city of Utrecht, however, continues to increase. The main challenge facing the province is maintaning optimal mobility within the available space, which applied during this project also.

Smart approach

For this project, Witteveen+Bos conducted various spatial planning activities. These included preparing permit inventories and applying for the required permits. We investigated the possibilities for widening cycle paths and building turn-offs within the current zoning plans, after which we provided advice on which spatial planning procedures to follow. Various conditioning surveys were also conducted.

The key element of the project was ensuring that all work be carried out simultaneously, without incurring delays. Good insight into the applicable procedures was vital to this. Creating a permit register offered insight into the various procedural times, ensuring timely permit applications and early identification of potential problems. The challenge in putting together this type of planning is, on the one hand, providing sufficient flexibility in project development and, on the other hand, guaranteeing sufficient legal assurance for municipalities and third parties.

By collaborating closely with all involved parties and taking their interests into account, the Province of Utrecht and Witteveen+Bos succeeded in completing the roadworks while simultaneously contributing to an improved living and working environment for Utrecht residents.

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