In Ghent, ‘Gentspoort’ was officially launched on Thursday. With this project, which you can translate as ‘Ghent tracks’, the Flemish government wants to offer an answer to some persistent mobility bottlenecks in and around the city. For example, there will be new tram lines, and the ring road will be partly relocated, including at the busy traffic intersection at Dampoort.
The project aims to create 10 kilometers of new tram lines in Ghent. The extension of tram line 4 and the construction of the new tram line 7, which replaces the 70-series buses, will create a direct connection from the south (Parkbos) to the north (Voormuide).
In the first instance, this new tram line will provide a fast connection for travelers between the city center and each station. It will also link travelers directly to several hotspots such as museums and Citadel Park.
The city ring road (R40) will also be partially shifted, and there will be two tunnels, under Dampoort and Heuvelpoort, that will bring car traffic underground.
The Dampoort station area will also be redesigned as a transfer point where people can easily and safely switch between different modes of transport. Together with the tunneling, this will free up space for new developments that contribute to a high-quality environment. Ghent Dampoort is known as an unsafe roundabout that is also a persistent bottleneck for through traffic.
New impetus for Ghent
According to the Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works, Lydia Peeters (Open VLD), the project will provide a new impetus for Ghent. “With these interventions, we want to make travel in and around Ghent easier, safer, and more sustainable, as well as contribute to a pleasant living environment for all Ghent residents. This is a historic step in completing the Ghent tram network.”
Ghent’s mayor Mathias De Clercq is also delighted that various important infrastructure dossiers are being tackled. “The tunneling of the Dampoort and the Heuvelpoort will make two complex traffic intersections safer,” De Clercq says.
The project, part of an investment package of 465 million euros, is currently in the study phase. The Werkvennootschap, the Flemish organization that supports large and complex mobility projects, has the mandate to bring the development to a successful conclusion. The start of the work is foreseen in 2027.