Last weekend over 32,000 people turned up to visit the sites of the ongoing construction of what has been dubbed Geneva’s “project of the century”. When complete the project will connect the train networks of France and Geneva to create a seamless link between Cornavin, Geneva’s central train station, and Annemasse in France. In addition, it will improve links such as those between Lausanne and Annemasse and Coppet and Evian-les-Bains in France.
Around 500,000 people cross Geneva’s borders every day. By 2030 this number is expected to rise significantly as the number of Geneva-based jobs increases to 500,000, from around 400,000 today. Currently, only 27% of residents on the Swiss side take public transport to work. In neighbouring France the percentage is even lower. With most others using their cars the roads are overloaded. It is hoped the CEVA rail-link can alleviate this problem. Connecting French and Swiss public transport networks, should make public transport a workable option for more commuters.
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The link is 16 kilometres long – 14 kilometres are in Switzerland and 2 kilometres are in French territory.
The budget for the Swiss portion is CHF 1.567 billion, with a potential cost overrun of CHF 202 million. The canton of Geneva is covering 44% of this and Bern is funding the remainder. The French section’s cost of Euro 234 million, is being funded by the French state, the regions and local bodies.
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Construction started in November 2011 and full completion is expected by December 2019. The Lancy-Pont-Rouge section is expected to open earlier in December 2017.
Once complete, CEVA will reduce the trip from Geneva’s Cornavin station to Annemasse to 20 minutes – the journey currently takes 38 minutes on public transport or 25 minutes by car if there is no traffic, a rare occurrence!
The next public open day will be in 2017.