Totalcar – Magazine – A city’s problem within the city: the Csepel overpass that was promised thirty years ago

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We torture our cars on the cursed border of two agglomeration cities with a cold engine. It’s called Mű út, once upon a time the workers of the Csepel Car Factory used to go there in the morning. Today, it has become the horror hub of Budapest’s southern catchment area. It is bordered by the 510 main road from the south and the Csepel-Szigethalm access road from the east. According to a previous survey by Magyar Közút, both are on the top list. The first is the country’s busiest main road, and the second is the side road. 10-13 thousand vehicles pass through them each day. That is more than the daily traffic of the M6. The Danube closes from the west, the M0 and the XXI. you can get to the district. So there is no realistic escape route.

Starting from the neighborhood, even the water temperature gauge doesn’t get stiff when the clutch-single-clutch-slip-brake-empty squeal comes on. It must be good for the engine, the internal combustion construction is famous for the fact that it likes it that way. I should have left by motorbike, but I’m a coward in the January rain. Or at least an electric car, although that’s not a solution for driving. I see the light in the distance: yet I am not happy about it. Because it’s red and flashing. It indicates that HÉV is coming again.

The barrier is not closed for a particularly long time, just over a minute. Barrier down, green worm goes, barrier up, doesn’t look dangerous at all. Only this happens eight times an hour during busier periods. This should be imagined as nobody going anywhere for a net 10 minutes between 7 and 8 in the morning. But these ten minutes are not ten minutes. The rhythm of the traffic is broken, the cars pile up, the fucking Juke is watching VR Pisti on his phone, and he won’t let the yellow bus in. Result: “of course I’ll pop over to Tesco for fish” it takes an hour and a half round trip, and persistent car commuters stand in traffic jams for two kilometers in both directions. Every blessed day. Bring you a peaceful life in the agglomeration!

The locals dream of an overpass. This one node determines the lives of 20,000 people on the left, from the direction of the bus, and 40,000 people from the other side, from the direction of the new gyros. There is a demand and a promise. I asked a local aboriginal lady in the shop the other day, she remembers that the latter had been there for thirty years. And according to the mayor of Szigethalom, it became really urgent about ten years ago to do something about the junction burdened by the HÉV crossing.

The question rightly arises that if there are two important agglomeration cities here, stuck in the northern part of Csepel Island, then why don’t the municipalities get together and solve it. The answer is simple: because it can’t be. On the one hand, that part of the road section is under state authority, on the other hand, the estimated cost of the reconstruction is around HUF 10 billion, while the annual tax revenue of Szigetszentmiklós stands at HUF 4 billion. The neighbor cut off from the industrial areas doesn’t even have that much in the coffers.

But it will be an overpass. Only no one told me when. In 2017, HUF 150 million was already spent on planning. In response to my question, Member of Parliament Zoltán Bóna confirmed that the renewal of the HÉV system, the first step of which was the overpassing of the Gyári út junction, is in line with the strategic ideas of the Minister of Construction and Transport, János Lázár. The government treats it as a priority: like me, to get to the opposite side of the HÉV crossing, to Tesco for fish.

I get over the crossing, and I am stopped by the junction of a busy road. I’m a decent guy, even if I have the right of way, I’ll let the van coming from the right pass. I’m over it after all. From here, I only have to wait for those coming from Tököl before the next roundabout, then another roundabout and the finish line! Hooray, it’s done, I’m overwhelmed by the feeling of success. I finally get out of the car, the knocking stops, but the sky would cover up again if it wasn’t raining anyway: damn, you have to do this all the way back. Why the hell didn’t I buy gyros instead?

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