Intergovernmental agreement signed: R52 to connect southern Moravia with Austria
On Friday, 23 January 2009 in Vienna, the Austrian federal government and the government of the Czech Republic signed an agreement on connecting Austria's A5 motorway and the Czech Republic's R52 high-speed road. According to the document, the Czech and Austrian motorway networks will meet within the cadastral districts of the towns of Mikulov and Drasenhofen. The document was signed by the Czech ambassador to Austria, Jan Koukal, and by Rudolf Lennkh of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The signing of the intergovernmental agreement is the latest in a series of decisions by Czech and Austrian governmental bodies, which since 1999 have anticipated that the R52 high-speed road will connect with the A5 (the "north Austrian motorway") at the site of the former Mikulov/Drasenhofen border crossing.
The agreement's introductory memorandum states that the document was signed "in an attempt at improving the quality of road connections, with a focus on promoting the development of trade and economic relations between the two countries, while endeavoring to protect the natural environment, make rational use of energy, provide for safe road conditions, and improve drivers' working conditions."
According to representatives of the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate, the signing of the agreement is an important step, but even more important is to speed up work on the R52 high-speed road, which the signing makes possible. "In the R52 preparation process, this [document] represents an important push in the direction of supporting the public interest in realizing this project and is also an important foundation for starting groundwork," comments Martin Cetl, head manager of the R52-R43 project team.
"In the flood of legislative requirements and administrative tasks, we should not forget the real reasons for the construction of high-speed roads and motorways in the Czech Republic. For the R52, the main reasons are the region's development, reducing the number of accidents around current at-grade intersections, and connecting nearby towns with Brno, Vienna, and other European cities," adds Alfred Brunclík, director general of the Czech Road and Motorway Directorate.
The agreement's signing was welcomed by deputy governor of the South Moravia Region, Anna Procházková. "For us, this means the begin of preparations for and realization of the R52, which is essential for the region. I should point out that the location at which the R52 and A5 will come together has been known in both the Czech Republic and in Austria since 1999. Although we have yet to begin construction, Austria's A5 motorway is already one-third complete," she says.
The R52 high-speed road is considered to be a key project for the development of southern Moravia. Construction is expected to begin in 2010, and the road should be connected to Austria's A5 - currently being rapidly worked on - around the year 2014. The alternative closer to Mikulov was chosen on the basis of several exploratory and comparative studies that confirmed that, from a transport engineering point of view, this alternative provides better transport functions, has fewer environmental impacts, is economically more promising, and requires fewer investments. It is also 1 to 3 billion crowns less expensive than the so-called Břeclav alternative proposed by environmentalists www.r52.cz