All about cycling in the Netherlands
The Maaswaalpad is another beautiful fast cycle route in the Nijmegen region. It was named after the rivers it connects, the Maas (Meuse) and the Waal. The name is also a reference to the other fast cycle route in the region that I showed you earlier. That path between Arnhem and Nijmegen, or the rivers Rhine and Waal, is called Rijnwaalpad.
The new path doesn’t actually go all the way to the river Waal, and it doesn’t really reach the river Maas either. Not yet that is. In the finished state it will even cross that river and continue to Cuijk. The other end, the Waal end, will go to the Nijmegen University area, Heyendaal. For the video I did start near the river Waal. I cycled south from the station square in Nijmegen (because that is also where my video of the Rijnwaalpad starts, but then to the north.) From the station I went on normal cycling infrastructure to the beginning and then on to the current end-point, in the village of Molenhoek at the railway line. An underpass under that railway line has already been built, but it is not yet in use. It took just 76 hours to build that underpass. There’s an amazing timelapse of that! A ramp will start on the other side of the railway, parallel to the railway, to the future cycle bridge over the river Maas that will also be constructed parallel to, but separate from the current railway bridge. At a 40 metre distance at the most. This new route will shorten the total distance with 2.5 kilometres. The old route was 14.4km, the new one is 11.9km.
Most of my ride is on cycling infrastructure that already existed. The crossings with major roads were all upgraded, but most of the changes took place in the village of Molenhoek, just across the provincial border in Limburg. The cycle route in Molenhoek is a cycle street that runs parallel to the provincial road and that serves as a backstreet route. The street got smooth red asphalt to make drivers of motor vehicles clear that they are now guest. This part of the route, on Middelweg in Molenhoek, was opened on Friday 23rd February 2018.
At the moment you need to make a detour to get to a ferry across the river Maas to the village of Cuijk in the province of Noord-Brabant. That village was a bit reluctant to already start with their part of the route. Every municipality is responsible for their own part of the route, but Cuijk felt there was no reason to build anything before it was absolutely sure a bridge would be built and their part would indeed connect with the rest of the route all the way to Nijmegen. But the finances of the bridge were taken care of. The construction is expected to begin early 2019. The budget for the bridge is 12 million euros. The bridge will not replace the ferry. That will remain in service, also in the future.
The province of Gelderland is coordinator of 8 different administrative bodies which are building the route together. They signed an agreement to build this route in 2015. It is interesting that the website for this route only mentions seven local authorities: four municipalities and three provinces. The 8th party was the now dissolved City Region Arnhem-Nijmegen. Since the length of each part of the route in each municipality and province is different, the cost for each of the administrative bodies is different too. Here’s the list of the budgets.
Municipality of Heumen: €200.000
Municipality of Nijmegen: €400.000
Municipality of Cuijk: €400.000
Municipality of Mook and Middelaar: €400.000
Province of Limburg: €1.8 million
Province of Noord-Brabant: €3 million
Province of Gelderland: €8 million.
Making the combined budget €14.2 million. The website states the total budget is €16.5 million. The difference, €2.3 million, was paid by the now dissolved City Region Arnhem-Nijmegen.
Although the name seems a logical choice, considering the existence and name of the RijnWaalPad, there was a public name-giving competition in 2017! Out of 800 names entered the jury chose three: MaasWaalPad, Snelfie (a combination of fast and selfie) and De Romeinse Baan (the Roman track, referring to the Roman history that can be found in abundance in this region). People could pick their favourite on a Facebook page and in the end Jack Leenders was the winner: he was the first to enter the name MaasWaalPad.
The connection between Nijmegen and Mook is now finished but no signs tell you yet that you are actually using the MaasWaalpad. We will probably have to wait for the bridge over the river Maas and the part in Cuijk in the province of Noord-Brabant to be finished in 2020, before signs will be put up.
If you are interested in 14 detailed maps of the route you can find them on the website of the municipality of Heumen.
My video about the MaasWaalPad as it is partially finished in 2018.
A ride from Nijmegen to Molenhoek on the MaasWaalPad. (Sped-up version)
The same ride from Nijmegen to Molenhoek on the MaasWaalPad. (real-time version)