Flanders to invest in tunnel and new tram connection in Ghent
The Flemish government is planning to finance some fundamental mobility and infrastructure projects in Ghent. One of them is the long-awaited tram connection between the stations Gent Dampoort and Gent Sint-Pieters. Ghent will get a new tram connection, which was already announced in January 2003, and would replace bus line 7.
The infrastructure works will finally upgrade the Dampoort zone and relieve traffic congestion in the area. Gent Dampoort is considered a dangerous roundabout and a bottleneck for traffic.
It is one of the most important projects Mayor Mathias De Clercq (Open Vld) supports. The R40 will be tunneled, which will enable other facilities – commercial zones or greenery – above ground. The project was presented on Monday, in the presence of Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld).
The project is part of an investment package of 465 million euros. Local authorities have announced two new tram lines, lines 4 and 7, offering local residents and visitors a fast connection to the main station of Ghent, Gent-Sint-Pieters.
The project will probably be realized by a DBFM construction (Desing, Build, Finance, and Maintain), in which private and public partners participate. The Flemish government has decided to opt for an alternative way of financing the project.
Details about the tunnel and the reorganization of the station surroundings will be analyzed in the coming years. Ghent Alderman Filip Watteeuw (Groen) hopes the new tram line 7, which was announced already in 2003, to be extended later to Oostakker, replacing bus lines.