When will we be able to drive at 130 km/h on the A13 motorway between Caen-Dozulé and Pont l’Evêque? We will have to wait a little longer and slalom between the slowdown zones and those authorized at 110km/h. Sanef had announced the end of the work in 2021 and then in early 2022. But the deadlines seem to be shifted to the point that the operating company no longer gives any date. In the summer of 2022? In spring ? Explanations.
It is a small section of motorway in Caen and Pont l’Evêque. Twenty-two kilometers to pass to twice three lanes, but it’s a titanic job. The start of the works dates back to 2017 and they have been stalling since 2019. A delicate file for Sanef, a source of great anger among motorists.
“I take this road several times a week but every time I take it I get annoyed! We pay full price for a highway that is not one, we drive at 90km/h (110km/h recently) and there are often traffic jams”, we explain a first regular. “We wonder why the third way is not finally open, it has been over for a long time”, specifies another.
In my old job I took it every day twice back and forth, it was just horrible. We pay to save time but ultimately we lose it.
user of the A13 between Dozulé and Pont l’Evêque in Calvados
The motorists questioned at the toll or on the Facebook page of France 3 Normandy, are unanimous on the fed up to see this site dragging on before their eyes and at their expense. “Are you talking about this providential third way which is finished but on which we are not allowed to drive? It must be so as not to damage it, surely.”
An irony that says a lot about the misunderstanding that reigns. Indeed, since this summer, every day, they drive on a narrow track, limited in speed to 90 km / h first then to 110 now, right next to a third track a priori finished but not usable.
“The price has not been adjusted despite the speed limit.” The question of the tariff which has not been adapted is in everyone’s mind. No one really understands. And some daily users even feel a certain resentment. “An outright scam this toll rate which remained at €3.70 throughout the work. It is unacceptable.”
All these criticisms are well known and heard in the highest circles of Sanef. Jérôme Fossé, director of operations Sanef, the motorway company that manages this section between Caen and Pont l’Evêque, goes further than excuses. “We are aware of the discomfort”. There are time-related parameters. “In 2019, we first suffered the consequences of a long and rainy winter which delayed us. The floods have not spared us since the start of the construction site. And even in the summer period.”
An important parameter to which is added the Covid 19 crisis: “We were first impacted in the spring of 2020 when we had to shelter our staff, then we had a lot of cases and decimated teams for long weeks. What is the sector that can boast of not having been affected?
And it is necessary to add to this permanent disorganization and the phases of building site stopped abruptly, of the difficulties of delivery for certain materials. In summary, anything metal is likely to fall behind. Concrete poses less of a problem.
In addition to the teams financed in their workforce by Covid 19, we have been suffering for a year from the dropper supply of certain metal materials such as safety cascades, grids to be placed above sanitation, fences, etc. . Afterwards, it is also a disorganization in our installation sites that are set up and all this delays the commissioningJérôme Fossé, Operations Department A13-Sanef
Asphalt is the most visible but there are also large structures. The widening of these 22 kilometers does not only include a third path to be traced. “Declared of public utility in 2007, extended in 2012, the project to widen the A13 between Pont-l’Evêque and Dozulé is a major project for the modernization of French motorway infrastructure”, specifies Sanef.
- Resizing emergency bands to meet current safety standards. They will make the presence of motorists more secure in the event of a breakdown and of the intervention teams on the latter.
- The creation of 6 basins for the protection of water resources. They aim in particular to ensure the protection of the quality of watercourses and to preserve drinking water supply catchments from any risk of pollution.
- Intervention on several bridges : 9 underpasses (road below the highway) and 7 overpasses (road above the highway).
- Finally, acoustic protection measures (screens, facade protection) which reduce the inconvenience caused to local residents.
Major works that encountered major unforeseen difficulties, particularly related to the “geostructure of the Norman soil”. Thus, in these clay soils and composed of cavities, the surprises are realized.
The last of the six retention basins still poses a problem. Large cavities prevent smooth operations. “We now have to separate it from the rest of the construction site”, specifies Jérôme Ditch, otherwise the delay will be substantial.
A risk that does not depend solely on Sanef. Inspections are in progress by the State services on all the achievements to validate the commissioning of the third track. And it’s a fairly restrictive schedule managed from the site.
On the finishing side, there are also still things on the program before the opening of the three lanes. The asphalt will have to be reviewed in certain areas when it was installed during bad weather. There are also markups and at each “workshop”, it is necessary to secure the personnel with roadside constructions. All of this takes time.
“We will also have to cut traffic in places for a few more nights. Indeed, we have to install signaling gates. These panels are assembled on the ground and then lifted.
So many things to settle which prevent Sanef from deciding on a date for putting the three lanes into circulation at 130 km / h. After announcing 2021 and then early 2022, the motorway company prefers to be cautious. Summer 2022? Spring ? No answer is given. “We can only say that for the moment we are enjoying favorable winter weather. But what does February and March have in store for us?” Scalded cat fears cold water.