Planning of Maarinsolmu interchange progressing in Espoo – interchange would benefit all modes of transport
The interchange planned for the Tapiola-Otaniemi junction on Ring I would significantly improve traffic flow. The Espoo City Planning Committee will discuss the plan proposal on 11 May 2022.
Maarinsolmu is the main northern access point to the Tapiola centre from Ring I. The growth of the Otaniemi campus area into a more diverse city district is also increasing traffic in the direction of Otaniemi. Ring I is a nationally important freight transport route, and the harbour tunnel from the West Harbour to Länsiväylä planned by Helsinki would increase freight traffic even further.
Aiming for smoother and safer mobility for all
Maarinsolmu is the only at-grade junction on Ring I between Lahdentie and Länsiväylä. At peak times and as a result of traffic accidents, queues can reach hundreds of metres in length.
“In the current situation, we are constantly stopping the traffic flow on Ring I with traffic lights. This is absurd both in terms of road users’ time and traffic emissions,” says Project Manager Antti Mäkinen.
The Maarinsolmu interchange would improve the flow of cars, buses and freight transport on Ring I, Kalevalantie and Maarintie. Mobility would be made easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists as well. The existing overpass over the ring road would be replaced by a high-quality cycling and pedestrian connection. The ring road could also be crossed via the new interchange. In the north-south direction, a bicycle corridor would pass under Kalevalantie.
“Maarinsolmu is part of the development of Pohjois-Tapiola. From the residential buildings planned in the vicinity, it would be possible to cross the ring road on foot directly to the Jokeri Light Rail stop,” says Mäkinen.
According to calculations by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the current situation costs 2–3 million euros per year, taking into account the main cost items, i.e. time lost by road users and the cost of accidents. The benefits of the project would be more than double the investment.
Managing flood risks, landscape impacts and noise pollution
The area around Maarinsolmu is a flood risk area: sea floods and floods caused by heavy rainfall repeatedly rise on the ring road and nearby streets. “The road area will be protected from floodwaters and the adjacent Hopealehto park will have a stormwater swale to delay rainwater run-off from the street areas,” says Area Planning Architect Sampo Sikiö.
Landscape impacts and noise pollution will be reduced by lowering Ring I, so that there are no high junctions in the landscape.
The plan amendment will allocate the areas needed for the interchange and the light rail. Furthermore, a wooden eight-storey block of flats for students is being planned for the area. The City Planning Committee will discuss the plan proposal and decide whether to submit it to the City Council for approval on 11 May 2022.
- Urban development