Brussels abandons idea of tunnel for cars under Meiser

Summary

The Brussels Capital-Region will not build a tunnel for cars to travel under Meiserplein, citing a lack of improved quality of life versus cost

Tram tunnel still possible

The government of the Brussels-Capital Region has scrapped a plan to build a tunnel for cars under Meiserplein in Schaarbeek, a notorious traffic problem.

The junction (pictured) is fed by seven roads and three tramlines, with the Leuvensesteenweg crossing Reyerslaan, which brings traffic from the E40 into Brussels from Leuven and Liège. The government had made plans for the construction of two tunnels under the junction, one for cars and one for trams.

That proposal for a tunnel for cars will not go forward, minister-president Rudi Vervoort and mobility minister Pascal Smet confirmed to brusselnieuws.be. “The reason is simple,” Smet said. “The impact on quality of life would not be sufficient to justify the investment.”

According to a new study commissioned by the government, 40 to 50% of car traffic would use the tunnel, but the traffic using the many roads leading into and out of the junction – the cause of the majority of trouble – would remain above ground. The tunnel would have cost €160 million, as well as ensuring even more traffic chaos in the area during works.

A tram tunnel remains on the table, however. “Trams are in conflict with pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic, so that’s still necessary,” Smet said. “Apart from that, one of the lines will probably become a metro in the future.”

Photo: Varech/Wikimedia

Traffic in Flanders

Thousands of commuters and foreigners pass through Brussels and Flanders each day, and the two regions have suffered from heavily congested traffic and long and frequent traffic jams for years – with no end seemingly in sight.
Record - According to the 2013 report from traffic information platform Inrix, Brussels and Antwerp have the most traffic congestion of any city in Europe and North America.
Calendar - October is the worst month of the year for traffic jams.
Causes - Year after year, heavy snowfall and railway strikes lead to monster traffic jams. Heavy congestion, infrastructure works and multi-lane accidents cause the more ordinary daily tailbacks.
1 285

largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres

70

time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours

10 000

traffic diversions in Flanders per year