Monday, 18 June 2012

Warsaw southern bypass: this time next year?

Assuming you're driving a vehicle weighing less than 3.5 tonnes and are prepared to drive it at speeds below 70kmh/43mph, yes, you can drive from Łódź to Warsaw along a motorway, which was opened in time for the football. But no, the Łódź-Warsaw motorway does not, as yet, connect up with Ursynów, Warsaw's southernmost suburb. How long will we have to wait?

Judging by the picture below - a long time. The S2 expressway, Południowa Obwodnica Warszawy ('Warsaw Southern Bypass') needs to drill its way under the main Warsaw-Radom railway line. Work started recently; since then, two-thirds of one viaduct has been laid (the easy one - the coal train line, without overhead cables). The final third will be slid into place when ready (to the left you can see the trestles on which the viaduct sections were fabricated). Then the soil between the pillars needs to be cleared, and asphalt laid. Repeat for the middle (electrified) line, and again for the westernmost (electrified) line. If this is ready by this time next year, I shall nourish myself upon my headwear.

Below: the future coal train bridge seen from what will one day be a bridge carrying the Radom line over the S2.

While one viaduct is being laid, the railway line that will run over it is diverted onto another line (below). This shot actually is a bit of a trompe d'oeil as the Koleje Mazowieckie train only appears to be on the coal train line; it's swinging around the island platform at W-wa Dawidy station. Nevertheless, three lines are squeezed onto two while the viaducts are under construction.

Below: the view from the current end of the S79, which comes to an abrupt halt south of Węzeł Lotnisko junction (węzeł = 'knot'). Beyond the cabbage fields, Dawidy, Dawidy Bankowe, Zamienie, Zgorzała... and somewhere beyond the DK79 connects Warsaw to Sandomierz and Kraków (the slow way). When will the S79 connect with the DK79 (or S7 Radom-Kielce-Kraków expressway)? It will be years after the S2 southern bypass is ready.

Below: my favourite moan - the viaduct carrying ul. Poloneza over the S2. It was meant to be ready in December 2010. It's still being 'worked' on - five chaps talking it done over tea and sandwiches this morning. A classic road to nowhere; the viaduct peters out in a muddy field and does not connect to ul. Ludwinowska. Why bother building it in the first place?

Below: looking down from Poloneza viaduct onto the S2. Prefabricated sections are lined up, ready to form the viaduct over ul. Puławska. Sometime. Don't hold your breath, Warsaw. Now the football's (almost) finished (just two more matches left at the Stadium Narodowy), there's really no incentive to finish the job. Stretch it out boys, there's no more roadwork once this contract's finished.

Noteworthy is the contrast between traditional acoustic screen (on other side of the expressway) and concrete cylinder wall on this side. Filled with soil, the cylinders will become a natural habitat for greenery and I'm sure that before too long the concrete will disappear under leaf and branch. To me, a better solution that a glass acoustic screen that will soon be covered in graffiti.

This time last year:
Stand Easy! - a short story

This time four years ago:
God Save The Queen - I mean it, Ma'am

This time five years ago:
Legoland, Dawidy Poduchowne

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