Dangerous situations at Zuidlaarderveen due to approach to De Groeve bridge

Residents of Zuidlaarderveen are seriously concerned about the increase in cut-through traffic around the village. Now that the bridge at De Groeve is closed until the end of December, the crowds in the small village are increasing. And with it the risk of accidents.

“Last week I chased a car that was in a big hurry. At the bridge it was going 120 kilometers per hour. Where you are allowed to go 60!” It should be clear: Jan Geert Duisterwinkel is very concerned about the traffic situation in and around Zuidlaarderveen. He himself lives right next to the bridge over De Knijpe. Usually a fairly quiet 60-kilometer road, but since the approach to the bridge in De Groeve started, it sometimes seems like a race track.

And Duisterwinkel is not the only resident of Zuidlaarderveen who is very concerned. Hans van Gestel, proud father of four, prefers not to let his offspring cycle on roads such as De Knijpe, Broeken and Kieviterij anymore. “When approaching this road, lanes for cyclists have been created,” says Van Gestel, pointing to the red bricks on both sides of the road. “The gray area is for cars and tractors, but if you have a cyclist here and cars trying to pass each other, you can have accidents.”

Since schools started again and all working people seem to have returned from vacation, it is getting busier every day. “I’m worried if it will soon be winter and even more people will get in the car.”

Because the roads around Zuidlaarderveen – due to the lack of a cycle path – are often used by cyclists, Van Gestel fears for the situation. “When you see how busy it is here, I am concerned.”

Jean Pierre Dessart also does this. “I don’t let my daughter cycle here in the winter,” he says. When it is darker or foggy, he should not think about what kind of situations it can cause. “What also makes it dangerous is that many motorists who take this shortcut do not know the road well. At some intersections there is a lot of vegetation and you can hardly see anything coming.”

The province of Drenthe is aware of the situation around Zuidlaarderveen. “We have consciously opted for a diversion over roads that are comparable to the road that is now closed,” says Arnold Mesken. “We now see that many people ignore the diversion. This creates dangerous situations.”

A solution must be found in the form of temporary speed bumps and perhaps additional signs. “We would then place those speed bumps approximately every 500 meters. The intention is to make the shortcut a lot less attractive,” says Mesken. “We hope to be able to implement the measures within 1.5 weeks.”

Zuidlaarderveener Van Gestel thinks it is a shame that no action was taken sooner. “You could have seen these problems coming. The Tynaarlo municipal council was aware of this for a long time,” he says. Fellow villager Duisterwinkel has been sounding the alarm to the municipality and province for some time now. “A sign has already been placed at the Kieviterij that the road may only be entered by local residents. But no one pays any attention to the sign.”

Dessart himself comes up with a possible solution. “Make some roads one-way temporarily,” he says. “Just like they do during the Zuidlaardermarkt.”

The province has looked at that option, according to Mesken, but has not yet opted for it. First, the province will start with temporary thresholds. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation and hope that the situation will improve.”