The Western Scheldt Tunnel, which has been a crucial traffic artery in Zeeland since its opening in 2003, will be toll-free for passenger transport from 2025. This historic decision is the result of intensive negotiations and cooperation between the province of Zeeland and the government. Deputy Harry van der Maas of the Province of Zeeland and Minister Mark Harbers have ratified the agreement with their signatures, which means long-awaited relief for Zeeland motorists.
For years, Zeelanders have been bearing the financial burden of tolls, a necessary but costly expense to use the tunnel that crosses the Scheldt. Van der Maas emphasizes the importance of this development for the region: “It is a very good step towards making the Western Scheldt tunnel completely toll-free. A first big step, because I will continue to work tirelessly for a completely toll-free tunnel, also for freight traffic.”
However, this ambition for freight traffic has not yet been realized, partly due to the outgoing status of the cabinet at the time of the negotiations. Nevertheless, the current agreement represents significant progress. Minister Harbers, who has specifically committed himself to this issue, is praised by Van der Maas for his efforts.
The financial side of the matter is underlined by the government's contribution of 140 million euros, intended to end tolls eight years earlier than planned. This is a significant investment in Zeeland's infrastructure, which not only benefits the individual motorist, but also promotes the economic and social development of the region as a whole.
Now that the agreement has been concluded, the Province of Zeeland and the NV Westerscheldetunnel are working together on the preparations to actually open the toll gates in 2025. A toll-free Western Scheldt tunnel is expected to give a positive boost to both the quality of life and the economy of Zeeland, a development that can be considered an important and positive result for the region.