Construction hell: Mayor fumes over road work chaos

Christian Wenande
April 26th, 2023

Roads in Copenhagen are dug up some 11,000 times a year, but the supervision of projects is well below acceptable, contends Jakob Næsager

There are more than a few road work sites in Copenhagen (photo: kk.dk)

Most people living in Copenhagen have probably wondered why the city seems to be in an endless cycle of roadworks.

From jackhammers pounding away at 07:00 in the morning to streets being blocked as heavy equipment rips up the pavement – it can feel like ‘Groundhog Day’ at times.

There’s also that old classic when a completed roadwork site is suddenly dug up again days later for some unknown reason.

Well, Jakob Næsager, the city’s mayor of children and youth issues, has had enough. 

“When I cycle around the city, I’m far too often forced into detours or see roadwork sites where nothing is happening … or at least only in a small corner of it. It’s extremely provocative,” Næsager told local media outlet kobenhavnliv.dk.

READ ALSO: Police approve plans to reduce speed limits across Copenhagen

30 new sites every day
This prompted Næsager to write to the municipality to ask how much digging work there actually is in the city and how often they are delayed.

The answer he got is probably not surprising to some … though it might certainly be alarming.

The municipality revealed that an average of 11,000 digging permits have been issued annually over the past three years – the equivalent of around 30 new roadwork sites every day!

The municipality maintains there are often many variables, such as a shortage of workers or materials, which can influence whether construction projects are completed on schedule.

No data on delays
And how many are delayed? The rather uncomfortable response from the municipality is that they have no clue.

Currently, no data exists to convey the number of digging permits that have been extended, but the municipality expects that to change in July.

The municipality actually has a map of ongoing roadworks in the city, which you can see here.

A quick look at the map suggests there is a significant amount of digging going on. Zoom in to check out your street.


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