Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Major Upgrade for Budapest-Vienna Trail

Here's a stretch of Eurovelo 6 just south of Szentendre. Hopefully this will benefit from the new project.
 According to an announcement this week, the government plans to spend an unprecedented HUF 12 billion (EUR 43 million) to construct and refurbish the Danube-bank cycling path connecting Budapest to the Austrian border.

As the cycling blog Kerekagy reported Monday, the project would involve construction of 200 km of brand-new bike path. On the remainder of the 282 kilometre section, there will be refurbishments of existing paths or signage would posted along side roads. In addition, according to the blog, the project would include work on 38 bridges, two large ones across the Danube and 36 smaller ones.

The route in question is but a small section of one of the biggest international bike routes in Europe. Euro-Velo 6 runs more than 5,000 km all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, crossing France, Switzerland and Germany, and following the Danube through Central and Eastern Europe to the river's mouth in Romania.

Here's some of the less impressive signage on the route (again between Szentendre and Budapest).
This is a little unfair, though: the signage is generally good, it's the path that needs work.
The section from Austria to Budapest is a favourite route of Western Europeans looking for new cycling adventures in Eastern Europe, but the quality of the riding surfaces so far has left much to be desired.

At a news conference in the Hungarian community of Komarom, along the Eurovelo 6 route, the government’s special commissioner on cycling affairs, István Garancsi, said the project is in “advanced negotiations.”

Garancsi noted that he didn’t know the intentions of the Slovak government, whose territory lies on the opposite bank of the river over much of this portion of the route. Regardless of that, the basic concept of the project has been established, he said.

Speaking in the presence of Hungary’s State Secretary for Infrastructure Development Pál Völner, Garancsi said the project could be completed within the current budget cycle.

One of the remarkable things about the announcement is that Garancsi was appointed to his position just last April, and at the time he was unknown to grassroots cycling groups. Formerly the owner of the Fehérvár and Videoton football clubs, he was named to the position by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with the remit of organising recreational cycling and tourism and development of the bike route network and cycling transport.


Anonymous said...

I've been contemplating on riding the Vienna-> Budapest leg of the Danube Cycling route for a couple of years now. On what sort of timescale would these proposed upgrades be finished? It might be best for me to wait until the upgrades are done?
(I currently reside in Northern California, but was born in Budapest and had relatives in Vienna).

Greg Spencer said...

You know, it seems this project is not a sure thing at all. I don't have any official update, but a contact told me that the work now depends on the government securing EU subsidies that are still up for grabs.

Bottom line is, don't let the Hungarian government hold up your travel plans!

Klaus said...

Do you have any up-to-date news about this upgrade of the Hungarian Danube Bike Trail?

Greg Spencer said...

I don't. I hear about plans from time to time, but haven't seen any action.

You could contact Adam Bodor at the European Cycling Federation. He was once was Hungary's cycling affairs coordinator at the transport ministry. He now coordinates developments of the Eurovelo touristic network for ECF.