Developing road connections secure efficient transports to and from the port
The Port of Turku is known for its good and fast road connections. In recent years, the main routes for port traffic have undergone considerable development, and plans for further improvement of key roads are proceeding well towards implementation. In addition to speed and safety, the cost-efficiency of transports will be enhanced.
”The upgrading of Highway 8, the most important transport route on the west coast of Finland has proceeded far. During the project started in 2014, the 12-kilometre stretch between Raisio and Nousiainen was upgraded to motorway to which the port traffic connects seamlessly via Suikkilantie road that was widened to four lanes already earlier. The traffic on the highway is also facilitated by a pair of passing lanes to be built between Nousiainen and Kurjenmäki, and the new crossroads arrangements in Mynämäki, Eurajoki and Luvia, as well as the interchange planned in Laitila”, Matti Vehviläinen, Director of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Southwest Finland, describes the progress of work on Highway 8.
Investments in traffic connections in Southwest Finland are supported by the positive structural change in the province. The economy is growing in the wake of Meyer’s Turku shipyard and the automotive plant in Uusikaupunki, which has considerably increased the volumes of heavy traffic. For example, on Highway 8 the traffic volume has increased by 8 per cent.
Bottlenecks on Turku ring road will be removed next
The basic improvement of Turku ring road is still the number one road project in Southwest Finland. The significance of the ring road is emphasised by the fact that it is part of the E18 road which is Finland’s most important international road connection.
”One of the most important development objects is the intersection of E18 and Highway 8 in Raisio via which the traffic from the ports of both Turku and Naantali accesses the ring road. At present, around 50,000 vehicles per day pass through the intersection, which causes traffic jams from time to time. The continuous growth of traffic volumes requires new arrangements both in this intersection and in the Raisio town centre. With a price tag of 120 million euros, the project now in the planning phase will have a positive effect on the smooth flow and safety of traffic as well as the urban structure in Raisio”, Matti Vehviläinen assures.
The project includes replacing the current crossing of Highway 8 and E18 with an intersection to be built on three levels, and traffic arrangement in Raisio town centre, e.g. a tunnel for ring road E18. As part of the development project of Turku ring road, a general plan has been drawn up for the stretch between Naantali and Raisio. The Raisio town centre will be ready for implementation around year 2020. Before that, in 2018, improvement of the ring road will start in Kaarina, between Kausela and Kirismäki districts.
Smart traffic minimises the impact of disruptions
The new smart traffic solutions are being developed alongside the infrastructure for road traffic. Smart traffic refers to improving the smooth flow or safety of traffic by using communication between different vehicles and between vehicles and the infrastructure.
”Pioneering work for promoting smart traffic has been carried out on E18 since the beginning. The road has in many cases acted as an international testing platform for traffic-serving smart solutions. Familiar examples include e.g. speed limits that change according to the weather conditions and the lane instructions in tunnels”, says Director Juuso Kummala from the Finnish Transport Agency.
Alongside smart solutions linked to physical infrastructure, e.g. forwarding of traffic information between vehicles and drivers is being developed. One example is the pan-Nordic project NordicWay implemented with the EU’s support.
”The idea of the Coop, Connecting Vehicles project was to test the functioning of the mobile phone network in forwarding fast traffic information. The goal was to enable the drivers to report about various disruptions to each other through a mobile application in real time. Those who participated in the trial also received information about danger situations on their route from other users and the road traffic centre to their phones. More than one thousand drivers participated in the trial that covered the whole of Southern Finland. The results will be published once the efficacy study by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has been completed.”