Clermont-Ferrand: APRR completes the widening of the A75 into 2 x 3 lanes

  • €170m equity invested, more than 245 companies involved and as many as 400 people working at the same time
  • A modernised motorway network serving mobility
  • A project combining safety, regional development and environmental integration

Monday 11 October 2021 marks the completion of widening the A75 into 2 x 3 lanes in Clermont-Ferrand. These works on an 11 km section between Clermont-Ferrand and Le Crest, completely supervised and funded by APRR, involved more than 245 companies with up to 400 tradespeople working at the same time, with an investment of €170m. Road users have been able to benefit from part of the development from this summer. Until these latest layouts were fully completed, the speed limit was 90 km/h. From this morning, the maximum speed limit is 110 km/h. While the construction site provided multiple challenges, this new motorway development is part of the initiative to develop the region and mobility on the whole, in close cooperation with local stakeholders. How it works.

A75: MODERNISATION NEEDED FOR THE CLERMONT-FERRAND URBAN SECTION

As part of the plan to revamp the motorways agreed in 2015, the French government awarded APRR the contract to widen the A75 between Clermont-Ferrand and Le Crest into 2 x 3 lanes, over an 11 km urban and peri-urban section. After the preliminary administrative procedures and surveys, work started on this €170m (exc. tax) project in 2018, and was fully funded and supervised by APRR. The A75 is the main motorway route between the Paris region, Millau and the south of France. It is also an urban ring-road for commuter traffic in the Clermont-Ferrand conurbation. The Clermont-Ferrand/Le Crest section is a very busy route used by between 60,000 and 85,000 vehicles on average in both directions every day. Peaks of 100,000 vehicles are regularly recorded per day at the start or end of holiday periods. Studies show that traffic is continuing to increase by around 1% per year. This traffic density, combined with an infrastructure dating from the 1980s, was posing numerous problems of congestion and safety.

A PROJECT AT THE HEART OF MOBILITY AND SAFETY

The true purpose of building an additional lane in each traffic direction is to improve service for the Clermont-Ferrand conurbation. With the works now completed, road users will benefit from better traffic flow and comfort. Additional safety features, such as the 3-metre-wide hard shoulder added in both traffic directions, new emergency telephones, dynamic road signs attracting drivers’ attention and the deployment of a CCTV system, along with renovating the interchanges, junctions and bridges all guarantee better safety conditions for drivers and motorway personnel.

MAKING THE REGION MORE ATTRACTIVE

Developing general mobility in the urban area helps increase the attractiveness and tourism appeal of the Clermont-Ferrand region. Providing a better traffic flow and greater safety with the new development means enhanced accessibility for the region, and also an increase in trade firstly between northern France and Europe, and secondly, between the Languedoc and Roussillon regions and Spain. It reinforces Clermont-Ferrand’s central position on the north-south axis, and connects to the A89 to Saint-Etienne and Lyon, right in the heart of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. From a more local point of view, the effect on regional attractiveness benefits the competitiveness of all the businesses in the area: La Pardieu, Cournon-d’Auvergne, Aubière. Modernisation of the section improves reliability of journey times, and facilitates the economic activity of already established businesses (movement of goods, personnel, customers, etc.) while also making the area more appealing to new stakeholders.

A MOTORWAY ADAPTED TO ITS ENVIRONMENTAL LANDSCAPE

Though much of the roadworks were in an urban area, at its southern end the motorway crosses through rural countryside. As a stakeholder in tune with its times, APRR took account of the need to preserve the local ecological diversity and lifestyle of the residents right from the start of the project. APRR limited the project’s appropriation of the natural and agricultural spaces. Coordinated developments over the whole section affected by the roadworks were planned by the teams. The Group also set up strong environmental initiatives such as moving rare plants and reptile homes with meticulous care from the site of the roadworks, conserving and creating wet lands, and organising the planting of numerous local species. Here are some figures: 700 trees, 20,000 saplings and 82,000 shrubs will be planted along the whole route, at the end of the 2021-2022 winter planting periods. Finally, the installation of noise barriers along the route along and a treatment network for the motorway run-off water, which enables the water to be treated and regulated before being discharged, thereby limiting any accidental pollution and contributing to the A75’s environmental integration. Finally, the A75 development is unobtrusive in the landscape it crosses.

APRR, A STAKEHOLDER COMMITTED TO AGRICULTURE

In partnership with the local authorities of the wider Clermont-Ferrand area and the agriculture industry, APRR wanted to do even more in its approach, and launched a request for proposals for collective compensation for anyone wishing to start up initiatives with strong added value for local agriculture and the economy. It set aside 250,000 euros four projects: planting training orchards, a meat cutting room, developing the Billom pink garlic with application for a new PDO, and an organic market garden sales hub. These initiatives provide employment and use technical and promotional resources, and also improve distribution circuits for local agriculture. This unique agricultural compensation initiative was previously unheard of in the department. APRR wants and hopes that it will serve as an example to other stakeholders in other developments, whether local or national.

IFFAGE’S MOTORWAY CONCESSIONS IN FRANCE
  • 2nd largest motorway stakeholder in France, 4th in Europe
  • holds 27% of France’s motorway concessions
  • Over 21 million customers per year.

APRR AND AREA MOTORWAYS
  • 2,323 km of motorways
  • 3,500 employees committed to safety and mobility
  • Serves the Paris-Lyon axis and connection to the major business centres at the heart of western Europe