Weyts announces €2 billion for improvements to Brussels Ring

Summary

Details of works to the Brussels Ring Road have been released, with the addition of lanes, cycles bridges and three new tram lines

Trams to airport

Large-scale works on the RO, the ring road around Brussels, will begin in 2019 and cost an estimated €2 billion, Flemish public works minister Ben Weyts has announced. The biggest part of the project is the creation of parallel lanes over 20 kilometres, splitting local traffic from through traffic, in an attempt to reduce the number of lane changes.

There is a fourth lane planned for the Vilvoorde viaduct, and three new tramlines will be added, as well as 41km of cycling infrastructure and green areas.

The main problems with the RO are the lack of alternatives to using a car and the number lane changes required, which are a major factor in the 1,100 accidents that take place on the road every year. Some 102,000 people a day use the RO, most of which is located in Flanders.

The works include cycle paths, 10 cycle bridges and nine tunnels, for a total cost of €70 million. The new tramlines mean an investment of €500 million, but they will replace some 20,000 cars on the ring every day, Weyts said. The lines – Brussels to Willebroek, Brussels to Brussels Airport and Jette to Brussels Airport – form the new Brabantnet.

“Flemish Brabant is the beating heart of the country, but everyone is standing still,” said Weyts, who was born at still lives in the province. “To move forward will take shovels in the ground of Flemish Brabant.”

If works stay on schedule, they will be completed in four years. By coincidence, the government of Flanders approved a proposal last week to simplify the procedure involved in taking over private property for public projects. Expropriations will be more limited in this case than usual, Weyts promised – “more a question of ground than homes,” he said. He expects about 10 homes to be involved in the expropriation process.

Photo: FIK/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