Dutch project for overhead toll road to combat congestion
Van der Poel expects an investment cost of about 20 million per kilometer. But no government funding would be needed. Vehicles pay for use of the road and for charging their electric vehicle. People will pay to drive congestion-free. And those who don’t want to pay, can continue to use the existing road below. According to van der Poel, the technical industry and investors are interested in financing the project.
If the government wants to keep control, it could take a minority share. The entrepreneur explains the government is generally not very open to private initiatives, but he is trying to apply political pressure. Former Minister of Defense, Hans Hillen (Christian Democrats), supports the Next Level Infra Systems project. He sees it as a solution for congestion and a way out of a generalized pay-as-you-drive situation.
The idea of a private highway in the Netherlands is not new. There have been proposals for toll roads before. In the past, van der Poel almost succeeded in building a toll road with the support of former Traffic Minister, Camiel Eurlings, and construction mogol, Dik Wessels.
Van der Poel and Hillen see a chance of survival for their project because it is future-facing. It will be full of solar panels, ready for autonomous cars, and it would be possible to capture the exhaust gas from the vehicles below. Furthermore, the infrastructure can be used for high-tension cables, fiberglass cables and a pneumatic channel for package transport.
The Dutch Minister for Infrastructure, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD), is enthusiastic about the project. “It is good that everyone is thinking about solutions for congestion and people are launching innovative ideas. We are in talks with the Next Level Infrastructure Systems initiators about precise details. The possibilities for entry and exit points and where to implant the road.”