A so-called state Infrastructure (Planning Procedures) Act-based/EIA procedure must be followed for the purposes of transforming the current A2 route into a motorway. In June 2006, on the basis of extensive research – including “A single plan for the city and the motorway: Research into alternatives and variations for the A2 route through Maastricht” – the ministers of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and the ministers of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment opted for a tunnel through the city. Parties within the market will design various possibilities for this tunnel route. These designs will be assessed in terms of their impacts in the second phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The basis for the European tendering procedure is the Collaborative Agreement, also reached in June 2006, between the State, the Provincial Government of Limburg, and the municipal councils of Maastricht and Meerssen. This agreement sets out all the project elements, rights, obligations and risks involved in the project, and it puts the public parties (the governmental bodies) in a position to get down to work together with “the market.”
The innovative approach to tendering is particularly striking. There is no ready-made plan for which a party is simply being sought to carry out the construction work. On the basis of the programme of requirements, the planning area, the budget and the property opportunities, “the market” is being asked to design the best total solution itself for transport and traffic-related project elements (infrastructure) as well as town and country planning and urban development elements (property). “The market” is being urged to form consortia in order to take part in the tendering process jointly. Consortia are collaborative groups comprised of parties specialised in traffic and transport issues and parties specialised in town and country planning and urban development working together with experts from other disciplines. Thanks to the combined approach of tendering and compulsory procedures, interested parties have two interim opportunities to give their opinions on “the market’s” plans.