Sunday, 15 September 2013

Warsaw’s Southern bypass – the last update

… which I must frankly pledge has gone partly outdated, given the rapid pace of finishing works. Last Sunday I ventured to “inspect” the construction site by bike, making most of the clement weather (above +20C, cloudless skies), while I felt under the skin this could be the last such weekend. For no apparent reason since early August I had an inexplicable inkling that hot summer would swiftly give way to gloomy and chilly autumn. Looking at the weather forecasts for the next week, my predictions seem to prove right. Albeit today, the weather’s not ghastly – it’s gloomy and imminent autumn is felt in the air, but it’s pretty warm – above +15C. Back to the core – last week the topic of pension reform outshined the recent progress of Warsaw bypass construction and posting coverage was scheduled for this week. But keeping in mind how quickly the landscape of S2 construction evolves, I had to retake the trip today, this time by bus, to take a few more snaps for the update.

According to recent rumours from Skyscrapercity forum, the last section of S2, linking junction W-wa Południe and junction Puławska is bound to be opened on Monday, 16 September. Given the accompanying bureaucracy-related formalities which are unlikely to be handled within one day, I predict the opening will ensue later this coming week.

My workmates and parents have rebuked me over the enthusiasm over the opening. I’m delighted to see the piece of work completed at last, despite all the bad publicity surrounding it. The works on bypass construction kicked off in 2009, a year earlier than building A2 motorway between Łódź and Warsaw started and the latter was opened in June last year, while the former is still unfinished. The whole venture was divided into two sub-projects: section Konotopa – W-wa Południe (formerly Lotnisko) with Bilfinger Berger as lead contractor and section called Elka (for the sake of its L-letter shape) from Marynarska junction to Puławska junction, with Porr (formerly Teerag-Asdag) as lead contractor. The former was scheduled to be opened in August 2012, the latter in April 2012… This was the theory – the last moment when those deadlines seemed realistic was spring 2011, then hopes for seeing the road finished in 2012 were dashed. In practice: section between Marynarska and W-wa Okęcie junctions was opened on 14 June 2013, section between Konotopa and al. Krakowska was opened on 31 July 2013, section between al. Krakowska and Okęcie junctions was opened on 6 September 2013 and the last 2-kilometre-long stretch, awaits opening.

The biggest puzzle about the whole stuff is the eneven pace of works – for many months it was appallingly slothful, several obstacles prevented the contractor from starting out works in many places, sluggishness of construction crew was inexcusable. And around spring 2013, when advancements of works was reaching 80%, a sudden spurt of mobilisation ensued. The same happened on A2 motorway construction site in spring 2012, but it could be put down to Euro 2012 deadline. This time construction was far behind schedule, so what spurred the devil-may-care builders on accelerating? Was this the Gdaka to have had an hand in it, by using the well-checked stick and carrot approach?

The long-behind-schedule completion is not the only blemish of the venture. The bigger ones are the absurdities accompanying it – expressways lead to: fence of an office building at the northern end of S79, cabbage field on the southern end of it. I can’t understand the decision to desist from building the tunnel carrying the traffic from ul. Puławska beneath the unfinished roundabout on Puławska junction, but somehow approve of laughable turnaround traffic arrangement at the eastern end of S2. Actually the fact all junctions have been built to fit future needs is positive, what wipes the smile off my face is that the roads will probably not be extended for years. S7 from W-wa Południe to Grójec might be, if everything goes smoothly, completed by 2020, some time later I expect the rest of the S2 bypass to be extended eastwards, N-S route might be never extended… May the huge junctions with roads ending in the middle of the fields not become the monument of the one-off large spurt of infrastructure spending in Poland… I seriously fear lack of adequate funds might almost bring to a halt infrastructure projects which are vital for moving Poland ahead.

Coming to the photo coverage… To the right – the eastern end of the motorway / expressway  linking Warsaw and Lisbon, last week, the day after the top layer of asphalt (SMA) has been laid, it was still sticky.

To the right – same turnaround in the distance, captured today. Over the past week lanes have been marked out and signage has been put up. The turnaround is a really rare peculiarity, but given all circumstances, there’s a method in this madness…

Last Sunday, I cycle down the viaducts over ul. Puławska. Machines and workers were getting ready for laying the SMA on the unopened section of the expressway.

Some one mile towards the west, I approached the basin (wanna) to behold the whole W-wa Południe was utterly finished, with the top layer of tarmac laid and lanes painted. Just cut the ribbon and let elated drivers enjoy the trip!

Then I cycled further in the direction of Al. Krakowska to finally saw the bypass “under the traffic” (pod ruchem) – it was the third day vehicles were forced to turn onto slip road towards Marynarska junction.

Today, despite Sunday, clearance works on Puławska junction and around it were in overdrive. Machines and workers are hurrying to complete the contract. Lane-marking lines have been painted. Traffic lights are operational, but turned off, the site needs tidying up…

Judging by the signage, Sandomierz must be one of more important places on the map of Poland. Or maybe the signage is putting the place on the map? Traffic signage on all junctions of the bypass, hailed abysmal, has been subject of harsh criticism…

And for the very end, two photos from the viaduct carrying ul. Poloneza over the bypass. The first to the west, towards Radom railway tracks and W-wa Południe junction. Crews in the distance are clearing up the road – preparations for the opening under way.

Roads running towards ul. Puławska also look completed. The very viaduct is another example of several absurdities packed into one development…


Michael Dembinski said...

It would be interesting to see what impact the opening of the S2/S79 has on property prices and development to the south of Warsaw. All of a sudden, a house in Raszyn becomes 15 minutes closer to the city centre. What will this do the Warsaw property market?

Saturday's Vyborcha carried an interesting article about the exurbs and the culture of people living there.

student SGH said...

I would dare to argue the impact would be miniscule, because the road runs parallel to Warsaw's southern boundaries. When S7 or S8 are extended south, the attractiveness of some locations may rise?

The Warsaw property market is heading relentlessly in one direction. It's the fifth year I read articles written by real estate agents and experts hired by developers with clear purport: "taniej nie będzie" and despite this prices keep going down. Of course they will reach the bottom in some time and every trend must be featured with corrections, but I see no room for rising prices, nor for plummetting.

Is that article available online or shall I look for someone who bought it last weekend and wants to dispose of the paper?