Mayors want motorway speed limit reduced to 80 km/h

Traffic noise is terrorising residents in built-up areas

Twelve mayors representing municipalities around the country, including the Copenhagen suburbs of Hvidovre and Gladsaxe, have submitted a letter pleading with the government to lower the speed limit on motorways, reports DR.

The proposed limit is 80 km/h on motorways, down from 110, 120 (the same in the UK) or even 130 in some places. On smaller roads the suggested limit is 50 km/h, including roads outside built-up areas where the current limit is 80.

The mayors are appealing because of concerns about the health of those who are forced to live close to main roads and motorways: stress leading to complications such as blood clots can be caused by the noise.

Not the way to go
In spite of these entreaties, motorists’ association FDM does not believe these reductions are the way to go.

Even if the measures were to have a positive effect on some residents’ health, traffic would be bogged down by cars travelling more slowly.

“When you slow down, it takes longer to get through the traffic, and that means delays,” commented Dennis Lange, FDM’s chief consultant. “And when there are a lot of drivers, that means a big delay for society overall, and thus it is economically expensive.”

FDM has suggested alternative measures such as noise-dampening asphalt and sound barriers to protect residents’ well-being.

Not so fast!
The mayors who have signed the letters, however, are convinced that reducing motorists’ speed is the only way to go.

“The fact that you have to spend a few more minutes in traffic is not noticeable to the individual motorist, but it makes a huge difference to us who live up the road,” said Anders Wolff Andresen, the mayor of Hvidovre. 

“In terms of society, you get a far greater gain than if the individual loses a minute or two,” he argued.

The twelve mayors, as well as the 100,000 or so residents who live in heavily trafficked areas, will have their fingers crossed that Parliament agrees.