Main Road 7 is a narrow road with closely spaced interchanges. The number of vehicles between Hamina and Vaalimaa amounts to 6,000 per day, 3,500 of which cross the state border. The share of heavy-duty vehicles is 30 %. During peak periods, the large traffic volumes may cause up to 30 kilometres long queues of lorries at the border. The insufficient road capacity does not meet the transport needs, and traffic volumes are expected to double during this decade. A high number of pedestrians and cyclists use the road between Virojoki and Vaalimaa. On this stretch of road there is an average of six personal injury accidents and at least one road fatality each year.
The new road is to be built just north of the existing road. The current highway will be improved to match the new traffic situation and will run parallel to the new section of the motorway. The project’s western end will connect to the Hamina bypass, and the eastern end to Vaalimaa border.
By fast and convenient travel the area will become more secure and comfortable. By 2040 the number of traffic accidents resulting in injury will be reduced by 60%. Travelling will be eight minutes quicker than present, and planning journeys will become more predictable.
Noise, pollution and safety issues that have been burdening people living along the road will disappear. Excellent noise barriers will significantly reduce noise pollution. Groundwater in the area will be protected. Careful study of important environmental and cultural attractions has been made and will be taken into consideration during construction.
The project will bring a new era to southeastern Finland, with the new highway creating a great opportunity for development in the region. Southeastern Finland’s trade, tourism and commercial life will become busier due to significantly improved transport connections. The new road will attract investment and increase passenger numbers.
The preparation of the project started in 2014 according to the agreed planning. In June 2015 Finnish Transport Agency and Tieyhtiö Vaalimaa Oy signed a 19-year service agreement to build the Hamina–Vaalimaa motorway on a public-private partnership basis, and after this YIT Rakennus Oy begun the road construction. The waiting area for heavy vehicles at Vaalimaa will be opened in spring 2017, and the motorway will be opened to traffic in spring 2018.