One-quarter of Antwerp ring road to be covered


Further progress has been made on the agreement between the Flemish and Antwerp governments and neighbourhood action groups on how to proceed with the Oosterweel link

Liveability project announced

The partners involved in the Oosterweel project in Antwerp – which will close the city’s ring road, currently not a complete ring – have agreed that about 25% of the road will be covered. This will keep fine particles out of neighbourhoods as well as create green space, which will be created on top of the new tunnels.

As Flanders News reports, the city and neighbourhood actions groups have agreed to a number of “liveability projects” that will be part of the Oosterweel link, including parks, a swimming pool and a cycle and pedestrian bridge.

The €1.25 billion Oosterweel link has been the source of controversy for some 20 years. The project will close the circle of Antwerp’s ring road, providing a means for traffic from the port area to travel north without having to drive in a large circuit around the ring as is now the case.

The original plan for the connection was fiercely opposed by three community groups – which formed specifically to fight Oosterweel – because it brought heavy freight traffic through populated areas of the city. A planned viaduct, which would have passed over a school for disabled children, was struck down by the popular vote in a 2010 referendum.

A compromise was finally reached last year, after Flemish architect and mediator Alexander D’Hooghe – brought in from the US to develop a compromise option – replaced the original plan with a two-part solution. The original route would remain, but would be scaled back to serve only local traffic; traffic from the port, on the other hand, would be routed to a northern bypass far from the city centre.

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA