St. Wilhelm is growing.
Under the guidance of Princess Charlotte, the formerly underdeveloped principality, the smallest province of Nordreich, is expanding. Thanks to substantial financial assistance approved by the Imperial government, St. Wilhelm embarked on multiple public renovation projects to alleviate traffic, improve lives, and attract new citizens.
One of the most important project is the expansion of the Imperial highway to connect with Nordinsel, the largest island of the principality and the second most populous.
Settled centuries ago, what started as a fishing village on the east side of the island eventually became the town of Fischerstadt. Citizens of this town relied on sea trade and farming on the fertile land on the west side of the Island.
For centuries, the only transportation option between Nordinsel and the main island of St. Wilhelm was by boat, operated by private shipping companies. Trade with Nordreich's northern neighbor, Vitsmunir, was conducted through a bridge that connected the Island. There the situation remained until 30 years ago, when Princess Charlotte's father, the late Prince Harold expanded the Imperial Highway to connect with Nordinsel. Nicknamed the Slingshot by locals, the highway was expanded from St. Wilhelm over three massive overwater bridges, connecting with Vitsmunir to the northwest branch and Fischerstadt through the northeast one. A giant highway roundabout, built in the middle of the sea, facilitated the direction of traffic.
Here you can see the roundabout, camera facing south (towards St. Wilhelm proper)
Here you can see the bridge's starting point, at the old lighthouse of St. Wilhelm (Archival photograph courtesy of the Imperial Archives) :
Here is another archival photograph, showing the northeastern terminus of the Slinghsot and the town of Fischerstadt about 20 years ago. Much of the Island was wild back then, but the town was already transforming into the small city it would eventually become:
Thanks to the Slingshot, Nordinsel enjoyed an unprecedented period of economic growth. Trade flourished and the island moved from a farming and industry focused economy to a white collar economy. To accommodate the demand for highly educated citizens who can work in white collar positions, a community college in Fischerstadt was established to provide adult education and training.
Like every other cities, however, growth of St. Wilhelm brought on other problems. By the time Princess Charlotte ascend the throne 10 years ago, aging infrastructure and changes in the economy has led to a couple of issues. Thanks to increased trade and manufacturing, the slingshot has become a tangled mess of traffic. leading to long gridlocks on the Imperial Highway. The downtown roundabout that marked the start of the over-water expressway and the main overwater roundabout became chokepoints, causing traffic jams. Worse, the over-water roundabout was severely eroded by the sea below and the concrete pillars that supports it were crumbling. On the west side of Nordinsel, the collapse of the agricultural industry has led to mass abandonment of the farming communities, and wildlife has reclaimed much of the land.
To solve these issues, Her Highness' Government embarked on a massive project of redevelopment. The first issue to be tackled is the redesign of the Slingshot and the Imperial Highway. Using computer simulation and other new methods of construction, engineers were able to demolish the old central roundabout with a new ramp system. Nicknamed the Helix, the new central traffic hub moved traffic through an web of on-ramps, built high above the water on an improved concrete foundation. The result is much improved traffic flow, greatly shortening travel time.
A brand new design is also implemented at the start of the slingshot. The roundabout that surrounded the old lighthouse was completely demolished, and the highway is now buried in a tunnel so through traffic can enter the slingshot without mingling with local traffic, which enters the highway through on-ramps. To replace the old lighthouse, the Duke of Schlossberg sent one, originally built a hundred years ago to illuminate the old cargo port (since demolished), to St. Wilhelm as a gift. Today the lighthouse stands on the spot of the old one and it is a tourist attraction.
To further prevent congestion, the government created the StWilhelm Ferry Authority (SFA), which provides ferry services from the main island to Nordinsel. It is headquartered in a small modern office tower in front of the main ferry terminal.
Thanks to traffic and transportation improvements, Fischerstadt expanded and improved tremendously. new citizens flocked to the town, turning it into a mini metropolis not unlike St. Wilhelm Island itself:
Traditional and modern architecture commingle on the shore of the Fischer Spring, a massive freshwater spring and lagoon in the middle of Nordinsel.
To attract high-tech industries, the government reclaimed the abandoned farmland on the west side of the island and created the newest district of the Principality: Seeküste. Designed with environmentalist ideas and advanced green technologies, Seeküste is a brand new, master planned city filled with green architecture, efficient public transportation, wide tree-lined roads and world-class city services.
Highly educated citizens and immigrants flocked to this neighborhood, where the government has provided incentives for technology and media companies to set up offices. Self-sufficient homes, green apartment buildings and soaring offices quickly turned Seeküste into the most modern district in St. Wilhelm.
Next: An ancient Castle, a growing City.