Fury about traffic chaos - but no solution in sight

The traffic situation at Solbacken is considered chaotic by many resdients and visitors. But there are no plans for changes in the near future. "A large part of the bottleneck is right at the junction between the municipal road and the Swedish Transport Administration's road," says Jerry Näsström, traffic engineer at Skellefteå municipality.

Traffic jams usually form behind the emergency services and towards E4 at the OKQ8 Solbacken gas station.

Traffic jams usually form behind the emergency services and towards E4 at the OKQ8 Solbacken gas station.

Foto: Peter Krikortz

Skellefteå2023-07-27 09:19

After receiving several angry phone calls and emails from readers, Norran visited Solbacken one afternoon - and the queues were long both on the E4 towards the city, the slip road down towards Solbacken's shopping area, and on Nöppelbergsvägen from Solbacken behind the fire station, past OKQ8 and towards the E4-Östra junction.

– You usually get stuck at the roundabout. It moves very slowly, says Emil Svedberg from Skellefteå.

– It is chaos. It should be one-way, says Emma Sandin, also from Skellefteå.

Emil Svedberg from Skellefteå, says that people tend to get stuck at the roundabout. "It's slow going".

Many say the queues are longest in the afternoon, and they avoid Solbacken at certain times.

– Chaos. It's worst around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, when everyone has finished work, says Sara Granberg from Storsjöträsk.

– In the afternoon and in the summer it's chaos here and on the E4, says Börje Nyström from Ursviken.

Börje Nyström from Ursviken thinks that Solbacken is not just chaotic during the summer but also in the afternoons during the year.

Jerry Näsström, traffic engineer at Skellefteå municipality, says it is difficult to avoid the problem when everyone is heading to the same place (the Solbacken shopping area).

– As far as I know, nothing will be done about it in the near future. As I said, there are certain times when there is extra traffic, especially in the summer. Many measures involve both the Swedish Transport Administration and the municipality. The municipality has no plans at the moment. It's something we'll have to look at in the future.

How do you respond to increased tourism, more construction workers and a growing city that is boosting the number of drivers on the road?

– We have to take into account how the city is developing when we plan renovations. We always take that into account when we make changes. In this particular situation, we hope that people will choose alternative routes around the area.

At certain times, especially in the afternoon, there are traffic jams from Solbacken in the direction of the city.

So, currently, there are no concrete plans to redirect E4?

– We don't know yet. The location of the E4 is being studied. Rerouting the E4 may solve some problems, but not all, especially when so many people are going to Solbacken. Renovations always depend on funding, and there are ongoing discussions and decisions above us, says Näsström.

Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration) is planning to start a new road plan in the autumn, but a solution is likely to be several years away.

– We are aware of this. We have been in dialogue with the municipality about the congestion in the area, says Maria Nordström, a planner at Trafikverket.

Cars on their way down towards the Solbacken shopping area from the E4.

When are you going to do something about it?

– In terms of off-the-shelf solutions, it's a few years away, and the rebuilding of E4 will take a few more years. So we're talking about ten years in the future when it's all done. We will look at both the new E4 and its connections to the old road. We may find solutions that can be implemented earlier, but we don't know for sure what the outcome will be.

Are there any plans for an extra lane to ease the congestion?

– There are no plans at the moment as we look at the overall work on the new E4. However, we will review the problem next year. There are no short-term solutions, says Nordström.

Cars on their way down from the E4 to the shopping area of Solbacken..
Cars on their way down from the E4 to the shopping area of Solbacken..