The Nîmes-Montpellier rail bypass
A mixed line for passengers and freight
The opening of the Nîmes and Montpellier bypass (opened to freight in December 2017 and to passengers in July 2018) has relieved regional traffic congestion and improved circulation in this particularly saturated area. It promotes freight train circulation.
The CNM had led to an improved transport offer and shorter travel times: the journey from Paris to Montpellier now takes 3 hours.
A 5-year project
80 km of new track
188 tunnels and bridges, including 11 viaducts and 1 cut and cover
Limitation of hydraulic risk since the line is mainly built of backfill
€1.8 billion in Public-Private Partnership investments, including €1.2 billion from the private sector
Social and environmental responsibility
126 protected species identified (fauna and flora)
1,900 hectares of compensatory habitat, i.e. twice the amount of land taken up by the project
A 4-year partnership (2020-2023) with the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturelles d’Occitanie (CEN) and France Active Airdie to promote an agroecological transition in the Hérault and Gard departments. The goal was to encourage agroecological entrepreneurship to support a transition in the area. Several hundred thousand euros will be invested during the duration of the partnership.
Employment has been a major concern from the outset
During the peak of activity in the civil engineering phase, the site had up to 4,500 employees. 14% of the project hours worked were part of professional integration programmes.
Measures to avoid and offset environmental impacts
From the outset, Oc’Via sought to balance environmental concerns with technical constraints by introducing mitigation and compensation measures in partnership with local environmental authorities to protect flora and fauna along the railway corridor. For example, during the construction phase, artificial homes were created to protect certain species.
An environmental Observatory was created before construction work began and will continue for at least five years after the line opened. It will assess the project’s environmental impact and monitor the implementation and efficacy of mitigation measures.