Austria cancels motorway construction near Vienna

The government in Vienna is canceling the construction of a two billion euro motorway. The future should not be concreted over, they say.

While the global climate is heating up, highways will continue to be built in Germany and elsewhere. Austria is now taking a different path and is canceling large-scale projects that have been planned for a long time to protect the environment. A two billion euro motorway near Vienna is not being built, nor are several expressways in Lower Austria.

Austria’s climate protection minister Leonore Gewessler from the Greens justified the decision: »I don’t want us to say in twenty years: We have buried billions in tax money and concreted our future.« Last year the minister ordered a kind of climate check for state road construction projects for benefit and weigh up the harm of such projects.

Almost half of the planned 19 kilometers of motorway north of Vienna would have crossed under a nature reserve as a tunnel. Experience shows that new roads lead to more traffic, said Gewessler, who is also responsible for mobility. Climate-damaging CO₂ gets into the atmosphere not only through vehicles, but also through construction.