First tram track on pillars to open on Antwerp’s left bank
This weekend, public transport company De Lijn will finish the new tram line in the Blancefloerlaan on the left bank of the river Scheldt in Antwerp. The 2,4 km new tram track will be inaugurated on Tuesday. A remarkable aspect of the new rail is that it is built on 2 150 pillars to prevent it from sinking.
The new construction was necessary because the old one was subsided. The soil on the left bank is unstable and rests on a layer of peat. That is why many houses on the left bank are built on pillars as well. Precisely where the De Lijn engineers found their inspiration.
Layer of peat
“The original tram track was built on a thick layer of concrete but over the years, it became unstable. The new tram line has a unique concept: it is built on pillars,” De Lijn explains. The pillars are eight to eleven meters long and together, they form an underground ‘bridge’ for the tram. Today, more than 2 000 foundation pillars are already in the ground; some 150 will be added this weekend.
The finishing of the works will have serious implications for tram traffic. Three days long – from Saturday, October 30th till Monday, November 1st, there will be no tram service between the left and the right bank on lines 3, 5, 9, and 15. Also, some pre-subway stations will be closed – Frederik Van Eede, Groenplaats, and Meir, to be specific.
Open on Tuesday
On Monday, De Lijn organizes some test rides on the new tram track, and passengers will be welcomed on board as of Tuesday. De Lijn hopes to limit the inconvenience of the works by continuing the entire prolonged weekend.