An update to the safe walking road for Bygdsiljum

I'm sorry this isn't in Swedish, I really do wish Google Translate was 100% perfect, but it isn't, so for now, if you're reading this and your mother tongue is Swedish, I apologise. And even if I was fluent in Swedish, which is nine years away, writing in Swedish is probably something that will never happen (although you can use the Google Translate function to the right now).

And the update is this; for work to begin at the same time as construction on the new road from Bygdsiljum to Burträsk begins, then something extraordinary has to happen. But the key thing here is, it's not impossible or that difficult.

And this is likely to turn into a fairly long post, so follow along if you can.

First up, I need to clarify some things:

1. Trafikverket own the road where we want the safe walking road to go and any work done on it will be paid for by them
2. Skellefteå kommun make a list of things they would like done and this list goes to Region Västerbotten
3. Region Västerbotten sign off on this list. They also have the power to say no, but they very rarely do as it isn't in their interest
4. Trafikverket then green light everything after plans have been approved

So, those things are straight, now we get to some details.

1. Trafikverket are working today on things that might or might not happen in ten years time
2. Everything that Trafikverket are working on now for next year can not be changed; it's happening
3. For something additional to happen in 2015, which is when construction on the road from Bygdsiljum to Burträsk begins, it has to be added to the list this year so Trafikverket have time to plan for it and sign off on everything next year

So what we have to do is convince Skellefteå kommun that they should re-prioritise the list and have our safe walking road added. And someone could argue that this isn't fair because another town or village might be losing out due to limited budget.

And you'd be right if there wasn't a loophole that allowed us to get this done from the 2018 budget. All we need, as a final step, is the head office of Trafikverket to agree that the money can be earmarked now for this project.

So why is it so important to do this now? First; opportunity and second money. They are fixing the road in 2015 and the time saved in adding this safe walking road would be drastically reduced, because work would be happening. Secondly, if they wait a year or two to add the safe walking road, then it will cost considerably more and when I say more, I mean millions more.

When I first spoke to WSP at the meeting in Bygdsiljum about this, I was told that there is still time for the plans to be amended. Right now, we have an opportunity to make this happen. If we wait much longer then it's going to cost a lot more money, take more time and be a much larger inconvenience for drivers and people wanting to stay fit and healthy in Bygdsiljum.

The safe walking road is also inevitable now, so why not take this opportunity and borrow the money from the future. The money is there for 2018, we just need someone at Trafikverket to say it's okay. But before all of that, we need Skellefteå kommun to support the re-prioritisation of the list.

In an ideal world someone at Skellefteå kommun will see this and see the common sense in not waiting and wasting money and time, and start to champion the idea, but we can not rely on someone seeing it and for that matter the right person seeing it and wanting to take responsibility.

I should end on this really positive note; Skellefteå kommun were going to add us to the list next year. The sad part is that because that would be next year, we'd miss the 2015 start date. All we want to do is move this forward one year. The people I have spoken to at Skelelfteå kommun (no politicians) also think this is a good idea, as do the people I have spoken to at Region Västerbotten and Trafikverket. We're a lot closer than we were a few weeks ago, but still a long way away.

Disclaimer: just because we would have been added to the list next year doesn't mean we would get the safe walking road, but as Skellefteå is the ideas town, we could have come up with plenty of ideas why we should. As things stand now, here is an idea; get it added for 2015 and the kommun will save over 2,000,000kr, which is 500,000kr more than the expected cost, if it was added to the work to be done for 2015. Now, is that a good idea or not?

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