Moving the E4, new bridges and the future of Skellefteå

The cycle lane on Kanalgatan ends abruptly.
The cycle lane on Kanalgatan ends abruptly.

The E4 and Kanalgatan in central Skellefteå are set to undergo significant changes in the future. This is something that has already been initiated, but there is a bottleneck in this transformation process. "The issue lies with the connections and the future of the E4," says Lars Hedqvist, planning manager at Skellefteå municipality.

Skellefteå 16 juni 2023 09:45

One of the planned changes to Kanalgatan is outside Sara kulturhus. It involves a section of a bicycle lane that the municipality would like to see extended.

– The idea is to extend Kanalgatan from Balderskolan to E4, creating a continuous bicycle lane, explains Elin Blom, a traffic engineer at Skellefteå municipality who is working on a new cycle route plan for Skellefteå.

Will it also be possible to reach Viktoriaplatsen?

– Yes, that would be desirable, but it depends on what happens with E4 and how the intersection is designed. It's a significant challenge, but the hope is that the bicycle lane can also continue east of the current E4, she says.

The cycle lane on Kanalgatan ends abruptly.

Planning manager Lars Hedqvist reveals that the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) is currently considering the future plans for the relocation of the E4 highway. This concerns the E4 bypass Skellefteå project. According to the plan, the construction is intended to take place between the years 2028-2033.

–That's why we are advocating for the E4 bypass. We believe it should happen sooner, he says, continuing:

– At present, the traffic is increasing. It's not beneficial for anyone in terms of traffic and the environment, considering that a significant portion of the traffic merely passes through the city.

The current proposal is that the route for the new E4 should go south from McDonald's and then behind the Anderstorp district over the river and up towards Solbacken where the fire service is located.

However, it is not confirmed that the new E4 will take this route, says Hedqvist.

–The Swedish Transport Administration will re-evaluate the proposal in a local study to explore if there are any alternative routes. It may take a couple more years to finalize that.

Hopefully, it will be completed by 2025.

–Then the question arises about how we will design Viktoriagatan and connect it to Kanalgatan, but also how we will create space for pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well as public transportation. Once we work that out, we will initiate our planning.

How much could it cost to rebuild Kanalgatan?

– Kanalgatan is a long stretch, so it could cost hundreds of millions of kronor to implement. However, it is a moving target. We see a societal change in how people travel, and that changes the needs. Therefore, it's essential to plan as far ahead as possible. If we do something too early, it won't be ideal.

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