France’s transport minister has vowed to reduce motorway construction projects in the country in a bid to reduce damage to the environment and encourage train travel.
Clément Beaune did not define which projects would be cancelled or limited, but it is possible to see where projects are planned or which roads are currently under construction.
“I will be making strong decisions in the next few weeks,” said Mr Beaune to France Inter. “We have already halved the amount of new motorways constructed, and we will keep going in that direction: more trains and fewer motorways.”
However, he did state that the controversial A69 motorway - which is heavily criticised by environmentalists because it competes with an efficient train line - will continue to be built between Toulouse and Castres.
Scientists from the national nature protection council, the Conseil national de la protection de la nature, say that driving this route is three times more polluting than taking the local train service for the equivalent route. If the trains on the line were converted from diesel to electric, the train line would be 25 times less polluting.
Mr Beaune has not yet shared which motorway projects will be cancelled or paused - but here we list projects in France that are either pending approval, approved and awaiting construction, or which are already under construction.
Two motorways are officially under construction.
The A104, a road circling Roissy airport from the east, began construction in 2019 and was scheduled to open in 2023. However, current estimations push its opening to 2024.
The A69, a continuation of the A680 towards Castres, links the city to Toulouse. It is in the early stages of construction and set to open in 2025.
Declared ‘of public interest’ and awaiting construction
Being declared ‘of public interest’ is a mandatory step before the construction of a motorway can be approved.
The A133 and A134 motorways bypassing east of Rouen have been approved but work has not yet begun. They are not set to open until 2031. Quincampoix and Incarville will be connected to the A133 while the A134 will link Gouy and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray.
The A154 is a 90-kilometre motorway planned and approved in Eure-et-Loir between Nonancourt and Allaines-Mervilliers. It is set to open in 2027.
The A120 is a seven-kilometre stretch of motorway circling north of Dreux (Eure-et-Loir), connecting the planned A154 with the existing RN12 road (Paris-Brest). It does not yet have an opening date.
The A412 is a 16.5km long motorway planned and approved in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes between Machilly - part of Greater Geneva - and Thonon-les-Bains. It is set to open in 2025.
The A31 Bis and A54 have not yet been declared of ‘public interest’, but they have been approved by the Ministry of Ecology, another crucial step required before construction.
The A31 Bis is a project to link Toul and Thionville to the Luxembourg border and is planned to begin in 2030. The A54 is a planned bypass south of Arles, with no opening date.
Motorway projects that have neither been approved nor declared ‘of public interest’ are the ones most likely to be cancelled.
They fall in two categories: dual carriageways set to be converted to motorways and motorway construction projects that have been rejected and modified by the Ecology Ministry.
A30, Hayange - Longwy, motorway conversion of RN52
A34, Sedan - Bouillon, motorway conversion of RN43, RN58 and RN1043
A35, Colmar - Sélestat, motorway conversion of RN83
A81, Le Mans - Brest, motorway conversion of RN153, RN136 and RN12
A82, Nantes - Brest, motorway conversion of RN165
A84, Rennes - Nantes, motorway conversion of RN137
A88, Caen - Falaise, motorway conversion of RN158
A304, Caurel - Rethel, motorway conversion of RN51
A12, Versailles - Rambouillet, project frozen
A26, Troyes - Bourges, on pause since 2011
A44, Lissieu - Vienne, east bypass of Lyon, possible bypass of Vienne.
A51, Col du Fau - Sisteron, south-east bypass of Gap
A55, Martigues - Arles, parts of the project could begin construction soon, but in the form of a dual carriageway instead of a motorway
A56, Salon de Provence - Fos sur Mer, in final phases of study. No construction date
A104, Méry-sur-Oise - Orgeval, no construction date
A112, Rueil-Malmaison - Bailly, project frozen
A813, Frénouville - Rocquancourt, bypass South-East of Caen. No construction date
LEO, A9 - A7, project to link two motorways South of Avignon. Study in progress.