The start on 11 June 2012 of work on the Milan Outer Eastern Bypass (Tangenziale Est Esterna di Milano – TEEM) marked a progression from the planning stage to the actual building of an infrastructure that the European Union views as being of strategic importance, as evidenced by the inclusion of TEEM in the list of the works that make up the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The start of work also attests to the determination of the company responsible for the project, Tangenziale Esterna Spa (TE SpA), to turn a project blueprint into a tangible reality by 2015, when the City of Milan will be playing host to the Universal Exposition (Expo). The road-building project, which has been needed for half a century, will be funded mainly by private investors who will provide the necessary €2 billion for works to improve traffic flows in the areas to the east and south of the City of Milan, corresponding to the Provinces of Milan, Lodi and Brianza. The project will also provide a counter-cyclical financial boost by creating 28,000 jobs at a time of economic slump and by indirectly generating a further €6 billion in wealth. Once complete, the Bypass will relieve traffic congestion in the Greater Milan Area. The area in question, moreover, is listed by the OECD as one of the 40 most industrially and financially important territories in the world, thanks also to the sizeable contribution it makes to the GDP of the country (over 10%).

The project consists in: the construction of a 32-km multi-lane bypass running from Melegnano on the A1 Milan-Bologna-Rome-Naples Motorway to Agrate Brianza on the A4 Turin-Milan-Venice-Trieste Motorway, with an additional link, the so-called “Arco TEEM”, to the future Brescia-Bergamo-Milan Motorway (“BreBeMi”), which is due to be completed by spring 2014; the construction of 38 kilometres of new non-motorway thoroughfares; the upgrading of 15 kilometres of existing roads; and the completion of 30 kilometres of cycle paths.

TEEM should be seen as a major infrastructure that will be complemented by a myriad of other interconnecting roads, as required by the four million residents of the Greater Milan Area. It also entails fundamental environmental projects. The project as a whole has been officially enshrined in the Policy Agreement drawn up by the Regional Government of Lombardy (Regione Lombardia) and by the Province of Milan, which is the public authority responsible for promoting it in the first place. As a project, TEEM enjoys the support of the Municipal Governments of Lodi, Monza & Brianza, as well as of all the 34 local municipalities through which it will pass.

The most recent surveys of traffic volumes for the Greater Milan Area show that more than half a million private and public vehicles enter the city each day by means of ordinary highways, thoroughfares and motorways that have remained essentially unchanged since 1980. The area lacks the capacity to channel HGVs and lorries onto dedicated routes, and the bypasses now in use (East, West and North) have to bear the burden of 350,000 private vehicles per day. The result is traffic jams from morning to night along the motorways and highways, in spite of the general decline in traffic resulting from the economic slump and the high cost of fuel. These jams are so bad that they have a major impact on business competitiveness, air pollution and the life quality of citizens.

The construction of the Outer Eastern Bypass (TEEM) will improve traffic mobility in the Greater Milan Area. The Bypass will be thee lanes wide in both directions (plus an emergency lane). It will have six interchanges and will facilitate road-rail interchange thanks to integration of the new road with the Metro and Railway operators. The average speed of travel will increase by 34%, which translates into eight million journey hours saved per year. Fuel consumption will decrease by 15 million litres per year, leading to annual savings that will average out at around €50 million. Polluting emissions will be reduced by 141,000 tons per year. All told, the overall financial benefit should be in the order of €150 million per year.

The “Arco TEEM” interchange with the new BreBeMi motorway will be completed and already operational by spring 2014, which will enable TE, licence-holder for the infrastructure, to collect tolls for the first seven completed kilometres. Motorists will be able to enjoy the use of an infrastructure designed and built by a consortium of the very best road-building firms in Italy.

In addition to the road building itself and the Special Environmental Projects, work on the Bypass will include the erection of 16 kilometres of noise barriers, the installation of 120 hydraulic works to safeguard the irrigation channels abutting the road, the creation of 200 hectares of green spaces, and the formation of 60 hectares of wetlands for the purposes of water conservation and the protection of the natural environment.