The Walloon government has decided to extend Liège’s tramway network to Seraing (Jemeppe) despite its high price tag. The extension, excluding the actual streetcars running on it, was originally planned to cost 105 million euros. The works would now cost 355 million euros.
Three new bids, still to be negotiated, have been submitted for the extension to Seraing. The Walloon transport company OTW is expected to announce its decision in the coming weeks.
17.5 km, with 31 stops
“Despite the budgetary challenges, with higher costs than first estimated, the government has judged that it is wiser to implement the project in its entirety, rather than opting for alternatives that are less expensive initially, but which would require travelers to change modes of transport between Seraing and the city center,” the Di Rupo government specifies.
The extension to the south will increase the total length of the line to 17.5 km, with 31 stops. The tramway will connect Seraing to Place Licourt in Herstal and cross Liège from Sclessin to the new Coronmeuse district. The extension to Herstal should be completed in 2027, and the one to Seraing should be completed in 2028.
“This extension marks a major step forward in the Walloon government’s efforts to improve connectivity and reduce traffic congestion,” it states.
Construction of the new tramway in Liège did not go smoothly. The new tramway was supposed to be ready in October 2022, but the site experienced many setbacks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and, above all, the unexpected underground cables and pipes that the contractor encountered. As a result, costs ran up, and completion was delayed.
The new tramway in Liege’s city center is now scheduled to be in operation in 2025.