Major water leak causes sinkhole in central Antwerp

Summary

Yesterday morning saw a disastrous commute for central Antwerp as a water main flooded the streets near Central Station

Rooseveltplaats closed

Rooseveltplaats, a major transport hub near Antwerp’s Central Station, remains partly closed today following a water leak on the nearby Italiëlei, which led to subsidence in the area. The city enacted the co-ordination phase of the provincial disaster plan.

The leak in a water pipe appeared in the early hours of Wednesday. Police closed off the Leien – the main Antwerp boulevards – from De Keyserlei near Central Station to Paardenmarkt, as well as Rooseveltplaats, Osystraat and Maerlantstraat.

Underground, the escaping water washed away sand under the road surface, and at one point a van belonging to the fire brigade sank into a pit up to its front wheel. City engineers were dispatched to test the condition of road surfaces elsewhere.

No-one was evacuated from the area, but there were some reports of flooded cellars. The leak affected a supply of reserve water, so residents’ current supply of drinking water was not affected. The metro station Opera was closed for a time, and some trams were cancelled when electricity had to be cut off. Buses were able to circulate normally, avoiding Rooseveltplaats.

The Leien were opened up again at about 10.15, but Rooseveltplaats remains closed. Works will be required on sewers and electricity cables. “We’re talking about a period of several days,” city official Bart Bruelemans told De Morgen. Public transport would be back to normal sooner, he said.

Photo courtesy Het Nieuwsblad