Voka blasts Brussels traffic tunnels as ‘medieval’


The Flemish chamber of commerce had harsh words for the government of the Brussels-Capital Region yesterday following traffic chaos caused by unexpected tunnel closures

‘Hazardous situations’

The Brussels-based Flemish chamber of commerce (Voka) has soundly criticised the traffic situation in Brussels caused by the condition of the tunnels. The organisation described the tunnels as “medieval”.

“It’s time the Brussels [regional] government stepped in,” Voka managing director Hans Maertens said. “It’s not enough just to have a plan for renovation. Plans being carried out quickly and efficiently is crucial.”

The latest incident saw the Rogier tunnel closed in both directions early yesterday morning after fire broke out in a maintenance area. The tunnel is an important section of the inner ring road, and the closure had a serious knock-on effect on the rest of the ring.

Later in the morning the Leopold II tunnel was shut down on the city-bound side after drivers faced with delays caused by the Rogier tunnel turned their vehicles around to drive against the flow of traffic. “That led to hazardous situations,” said a spokesperson for Brussel Mobiliteit. Twice more later in the day Leopold II had to be closed for the same reason.

Voka also criticised the “total lack of communication” on Monday morning. “It’s just not possible in this digital age that people drive uninformed into tunnels that are completely blocked,” Maertens said. “We are calling on the Brussels region to finally draw up and implement a modern communications policy.”

Photo: Philippe Francois/BELGA