Positive reactions to idea of covering Antwerp Ring

Summary

Covering the city’s ring road would tackle particle pollution and create 800 football pitches’ worth of new urban space

“Not mutually exclusive”

BAM, the mobility company that is to build the Oosterweel Scheldt crossing in Antwerp, has reacted positively to a plan to “cover” the current Antwerp Ring, by directing traffic through four new tunnels. This would reduce particle and noise pollution and create new land roughly equal in size to 800 football pitches, which could be developed.

The plan was proposed by activist group Ringland as an alternative to the BAM plan, which the government of Flanders approved in February, after years of uncertainty. The BAM, or Oosterweel, plan is to complete the Ring with a series of roads and tunnels, to ease congestion. According to Ringland, the Scheldt crossing that the BAM plan includes is not a priority. “We should tackle the problem where it exists today, on the current ring road,” the group said on its website.

Ringland’s plans were welcomed by most political parties. Now BAM has also reacted positively. “It is a good thing that the plans are being examined in an environmental study as an alternative to R11-bis,”Rudi Thomaes, president of BAM, told Gazet van Antwerpen. 

The R11-bis, or Krijgsbaan, is an older ring road around Antwerp; the plan is for this to pass through a new tunnel. According to Thomaes, the covering of the Ring and the Scheldt crossing, which is needed to ease congestion, are not mutually exclusive.

Ringland reacted sceptically to Thomaes’ words. “If he says Ringland can be complementary to the Scheldt crossing, we need hard proof. Earlier studies have called our projects non-compatible.”

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