Ghent gets its first ‘turbo roundabout’
In Ghent, the construction of one of Belgium’s first ‘intelligent turbo roundabouts’ started on Monday. This took place at the intersection of John F. Kennedy Avenue and Dwight Eisenhower Avenue. The ‘turbo roundabout’ is something the Dutch know for some time already. This one is an advanced variant of the classic roundabout, with three driving sections and cleverly controlled traffic lights.
The new infrastructure is built to improve the traffic flow in the Ghent port area. At the point in question, up to 6 000 vehicles per hour pass through at busy times. The radical redesign of the intersection, which is best known because it’s located near the port company Eurosilo, will take over a year to complete.
Safer and smoother traffic flow
“Road users can immediately get into the right lane in the direction they want to go,” explains Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), about the turbo roundabout with three driving sections and traffic lights.
“That makes it a lot safer and ensures a smooth traffic flow. Ghent is the first to go and there are no plans yet to build turbo roundabouts elsewhere in Flanders. Such a turbo roundabout takes up a very large surface area. We will have to consider that carefully each time.”
Minister Peeters also underlines installing 1,8 kilometers of baffle boards near the turbo roundabout to reduce the acoustic nuisance caused by heavy traffic. Thanks to the renewal and widening of the bicycle highway, cyclists will also have more room to ride safely along the R4.
New traffic infrastructure
Nearly 30 million euros will be earmarked for the site. This is the start of a large investment trajectory of about 750 million euros by which the Flemish government wants to improve the traffic infrastructure in the Ghent port area.
From 2023 onward, also fourteen other traffic intersections on the R4 West and East will be tackled. According to the Minister, the large infrastructure works, which are converting the R4 into primary roads in Ghent, Evergem, Zelzate, and Wachtebeke, are necessary to make car and cycle traffic smoother and safer, but also to guarantee the livability in the canal zone, and a safe connection between the residential areas.
Completed by 2028
The turbo roundabout is one of the four ‘quick wins’ that will quickly lead to results. Priority will also be given to the installation of three bicycle bridges, pending the completion of time-consuming road works. Fourteen other intersections will receive a makeover and the entire project – if all goes well – will be completed in 2028.
Ghent’s Alderman for Public Works, Filip Watteeuw (Groen), is pleased with the quick start of the work and sees an increase in bicycle infrastructure for local residents and port workers. “It shows a new view of infrastructure by the Flemish Government. There must be room for all road users,” says Watteeuw, underlining the good cooperation between local and Flemish authorities.