Bicycle bridge over Brussels ring road finally coming
Four years later than planned, the construction of the bicycle bridge over the Brussels ring road in Zaventem will start at the end of this year. New cycle paths will also be constructed around the bridge.
The bridge is situated on the so-called high-speed cycle route (HST) along the railway between Leuven and Brussels. It is one of the 15 priority bicycle routes selected in the framework of the Fiets-GEN, a bicycle network that connects the Flemish periphery to Brussels in a fast, safe and comfortable way.
According to De Werkvennootschap, the body responsible for the optimization of the Brussels ring road, the major works will cause a nuisance on the ring road. In this way, an axis shift will be created on the ring, and there will also be a speed reduction. When the prefabricated bridge decks have to be installed, the ring will have to be completely closed off for a few hours, only at night and during the weekend.
The project was delayed because the file was transferred from the Agency for Roads and Traffic (Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer, AWV) to De Werkvennootschap. The entire project was then reviewed, which resulted in a further delay. Preparatory works will start in the autumn, while construction of the bridge will begin early next year.
Alternative for commuters
Tom Dehaene, the Flemish-Brabant Commissioner for Mobility, raised the alarm several times because the file kept dragging on. Now he is satisfied that the first shovel is really in sight.
“I have always urged the Flemish government to build the bridge before starting the optimization of the Brussels ring road. This way, you have an extra alternative for the many commuters during the works. The bicycle bridge over the Brussels ring road will eliminate an important ‘missing link’ on the HST cycle route between Leuven and Brussels.”
The bridge itself is 168 meters long and will cross the ring road next to the railway bridge. The bridge deck is 5,5 meters wide: 4 meters for the bicycle highway and 1,5 meters for a footpath. There will also be a noise barrier to reduce the noise of passing trains for cyclists. The lighting will also be built into the sound wall.
But also around the bridge, there is a lot of work to be done. The project is complicated because there will be a cycle path in the bed of the railway. In Diegem too, a new cycle path will follow the railway to the station of the Machelen district and even beyond. The whole project should get more people and commuters on their bikes between Leuven and Brussels.