An agreement has now been reached over the massive project to build a new coastal road around Reunion Island. The authorities for the island have agreed terms with the consortium building the route.
The new coastal road connects Saint-Denis with La Possession, running around the island and replacing the old coastal route, which suffered frequent closures caused by landslides as well as bad weather. The new route runs for part of its length along an overpass located just offshore. This has been constructed at sufficient height that it will not be affected by any but the very worst storms.
However, the project has attracted controversy both for its massive cost and for environmental concerns. The project is now expected to come with a pricetag of US$2.3 billion. Much of the financing for the project is being provided by the French Government. Completion of the route is not now expected until 2024, although it was originally supposed to be ready for traffic by 2020. An 8km stretch may be open during 2021 but the work has been affected by a series of delays, the most recent impacting on the building of a 2.7km section. Construction work on this 2.7km stretch will now resume in September 2021, with the halt having triggered protests by local haulage firms.
One factor in the increased costs and delays has been the need to import rock for the construction of the link. The consortium, which includes Vinci, Bouygues, SBTPC, and CTOI, had hoped to use rock from a quarry on the island. But this was blocked on environmental grounds, requiring all the rock to be transported to the island by sea and boosting costs for materials considerably.