Through its numerous commercial activities, Ljubljana Airport has a significant influence on the economic development of the Gorenjska and Central Slovenia regions. The airport is Slovenia’s main air traffic hub, and also the destination and source of traffic flows in the wider region, which significantly affect the transport infrastructure and consequently also urban planning in the local municipalities.
The transport links from the airport towards Ljubljana and Kranj are practically unchanged since the airport was opened in 1963. Except for the Gorenjska motorway, built in 1985, and the rerouting of a section of the state road that runs past the airport in 2018, there have been no investments or improvements to the existing infrastructure, which is an obstacle to the development of both the airport and the local municipalities.
Since the introduction of vignettes in 2008, traffic on the Gorenjska motorway has increased significantly, due to the rerouting of local traffic and the overall increase in the traffic level. Industrial zones have sprung up near motorway junctions, while the layout, design and number of motorway junctions have remained the same.
No serious systemic solutions have been proposed to date, as all of the proposals have focused on individual, unrelated projects. Realising that the issue has not been sufficiently addressed, Fraport Slovenija has decided to take a more proactive approach and has drawn up concrete proposals for changes to the transport network in the vicinity of the airport. These changes include the construction of a new motorway junction and the modification of the existing junctions, new roads, and the construction of a high-capacity rail line in Pan-European Corridor X in the direct vicinity of the airport, with a shared rail station for Kranj, Šenčur and the airport, which would enable the development of a new multimodal logistics centre directly adjacent to the Gorenjska motorway.
“The region’s specific qualities underscore the need for a more efficient transport network. The spatial planning approaches to transport used in the past no longer meet the standards for efficient access and high-quality mobility. The inadequacy of the transport network is leading to congestion, overloading and traffic jams, and therefore it has to be redesigned,” said Managing Director of Fraport Slovenija Zmago Skobir at the presentation of the resolution.
“We are also aware of the limits in the national budget for such development, and therefore when designing the transport infrastructure we have tried to achieve the maximum efficacy of phased construction and immediate transport effects from the individual phases. We believe that our proposal offers a balanced approach to the construction of the proposed transport routes and that it is appropriate from the spatial planning and environmental viewpoints, and therefore also more favourable economically. These findings are outlined in the resolution, which offers solutions for overcoming the difficulties and aims for an optimal balance between transport and spatial development,” he added.
As the initiator of the resolution, Fraport Slovenija drafted the proposed infrastructure projects, reviewed them and presented them to the six neighbouring municipalities in the vicinity of the airport: the City of Kranj and the municipalities of Cerklje na Gorenjskem, Šenčur, Škofja Loka, Komenda and Vodice. An agreement was reached, which was signed and presented in the form of a resolution which outlines the proposals for the critical infrastructure projects in the Central Gorenjska region and a timetable for the proposed measures.
The resolution was signed on 19 November 2019. The signatories sent the resolution and the concrete proposals to the Ministry of Infrastructure at the end of 2019 and called on the competent state authorities to make a comprehensive assessment of the proposal, and to conduct studies and implement measures in a timely manner.