Opposition to highway to bypass Strasbourg, France

Opposition by "zadistes" to the construction of a motorway to bypass Strasbourg, the Grand Contournement Ouest , complaining of destruction of wetlands and protected animal species.


Since the 31st of January 2016, ARCOS is the concessionaire company mandated by the State to finance, design, build, operate and maintain the West Bypass of Strasbourg (A355) until 2070. This highway, with a length of 24 kms, is aimed primarily at developing a new high-level north-south route. This new route will complete Alsace's existing road network, essentially structured in a star pattern around Strasbourg. The goal of the project is to reduce congestion on the A35 by separating local traffic from transit traffic, thus improving road safety and contributing to the attractiveness of the territory. To enable its commissioning in 2020, it is a major project, generating many economic benefits. Nearly 1,000 jobs will be created.

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Basic Data
NameOpposition to highway to bypass Strasbourg, France
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project Details- 24 km of highway of 2 x 2 lanes

- 2 interchanges (RN4 at Ittenheim & RD111 at Duttlenheim)

- 2 motorway connections (A4 / A35 north & A352 / A35 south)

- 2 viaducts (The Bruche 470m & Vendenheim 450m)

- 47 road continuity maintained (National Roads, Departmental Roads, communal roads and agricultural roads)

- 9 streams crossed

- 1 covered section (Vendenheim 290m)

- 22 municipalities concerned by the route
Project Area (in hectares)10,000
Level of Investment (in USD)681,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesVinci Group (Vinci) from France
ARCOS from France - Finance the project and ensure its project management
SOCOS from France - Designs and builds the highway
Relevant government actors- Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea

- Prefect of Bas-Rhin
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters- Anti-GCO activists

- The National Council for the Protection of Nature


- Alsace Nature
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Global warming, Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.After a temporary suspension it was announced that "Nicolas Hulot, ministre de la Transition écologique, a en effet annoncé que l’Etat «délivrera[it] l’autorisation unique environnementale pour permettre la réalisation de l’autoroute»." (Liberation, 23 Jan. 2018).
Sources and Materials

Official social network
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Liberation. Feu vert confirmé pour le Grand contournement de Strasbourg. Par Coralie Schaub et Aurélie Delmas, avec AFP — 23 janvier 2018
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Media Links

À Kolbsheim, le GCO tient sa Zone à défendre. Des opposants au projet de Grand Contournement Ouest (GCO) de Strasbourg se sont installés de manière durable sur un point du tracé.
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Other Documents

The project Map
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P. Hertzog, AFP
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Meta Information
ContributorAlizée VANDERBECK
Last update23/04/2018