Here are some details about the project that will help you understand why it’s got many people worried, and what the hell is going on.
1. The idea is that it will complete the S1 outer ring road
The supposed idea is to significantly lower traffic congestion, especially in the areas of Südosttangente, Donaustadt, and Marchfeld. ‘At what cost, though?’ many are asking.
2. It costs around 100 million Euros per kilometer to build
With a total of 19 km, that would amount to 1.9 billion Euros. However, it’s assumed that this figure will actually turn out to be much higher in the end. And that’s just the construction costs. Not included in this sum are the running expenses involved in such a project. Opponents argue that this considerable amount of money would be better invested in other sustainable and green-friendly infrastructure development, such as schools and public transport.
3. 8km of the highway would be built as a tunnel under the Donau-Auen National Park in the Lobau
This tunnel would run just about 60 meters below the surface. This would obviously disturb the local ecosystem of the area.
4. Donau-Auen is the largest ecologically intact landscape of its kind in central Europe
This is why people are protesting with a fervent passion for this ecological treasure not to be touched. It’s home to over 800 plant species, as well as 33 mammals, 100 breeding birds, 8 reptiles, 13 amphibians, and 67 fish species.
5. Originally, construction of the highway was set to begin in 2019 and finish in 2025
The project was put on hold due to the ongoing protests. Currently, re-evaluations are being made whether it’s actually in accordance with the government’s climate goals (which includes being climate neutral by 2040).
6. A study by the TU revealed that a new road would generate more traffic instead of reducing it
Based on this finding, the finished project would likely turn out to be counterproductive to achieving its original goal of reducing traffic congestion.
7. Another study showed that the highway would be the worst possible option for urban development
The so-called SUPerNOW study, which was made back in 2003, examined different scenarios of urban development. Therein, the Lobau-Autobahn was classified as one of the worst options for the environment and would pose a high risk to the national park’s ecosystem.
8. Construction could lead to a drop in the ground water level
The drop in groundwater levels would not only have severe consequences for plants and animals in the national park, but it would affect Vienna’s drinking water supply, as well, considering the city also sources groundwater from the Lobau.