Motorway N57 connects the Zeeland islands, South Holland islands and the Europoort. On Walcheren, the route has developed as an upgrade of the old connecting road between the villages. The motorway became wider and wider, disproportionate to the size and scale of the villages. In this way, the busy, oversized road formed a barrier within the villages and negatively influenced local living conditions.
To put an end to traffic jams on the roads to the coastal towns, Rijkswaterstaat decided to shift motorway N57 to the east. The new route of the N57 has greatly reduced traffic in the village centres. This enabled a downgrade of the motorway to the level of village access road. In this way, its technical profile could be downgraded, to match the size and scale of the village.
The vision document “N57 – the road on a village scale” has been drawn up within the framework of the Belvedère program. This spatial program revolves around the theme of “preservation through development”. Studies of the way new developments enable restoration of lost qualities and cohesion are key part of the program. In the case of the construction of the N57, the quality of village centres is an excellent example.
In collaboration with the Province of Zeeland, the Zeeland Islands Water Board, Rijkswaterstaat, the Municipality of Veere and the Municipality of Middelburg, we worked to identify wishes and requirements. Local residents made their wishes and ideas known during well-attended workshops and public meetings. This formed the basis for a vision for the centres of Vrouwenpolder, Serooskerke, Sint-Laurens, Nieuw-Joosland and Sint-Joosland, and for the Veerseweg in Middelburg.
For the realization of the project part in the centre of Serooskerke, a subsidy was granted in the context of “Beautiful Netherlands”. It is the first project that was realized according to the vision document. With the construction of the N57 and the ring road around Serooskerke, the infrastructural function of the Wilgenhoekweg and the Oostkapelseweg was scaled down: these roads were considered far too spacious for local traffic.
In the new road design, the infrastructural function is of secondary importance. The road is primarily a residential meeting space. A place to linger for a while, for cyclists and pedestrians alike. Here, villagers can meet. Cars are guests, and no longer dominate available space. It has brought a sense of calm to the village.
Village access roads have other preconditions than motorways. Speeds can be reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. This enables the restoration of brick pavements along these roads. Road profiles can also be narrowed considerably, creating space for wider sidewalks and the planting of trees and hedges. As a result, streets regain their village character and their green appearance.
Title: Belvedere study N57
Location: Walcheren, Zeeland, NL
Client: Province of Zeeland
Cooperation: Zwarts Jansma Architecten
Type: vision, road design, design plan
Image credits: BoschSlabbers
Project code: ZL 06-20