41 large construction sites to ‘jam’ Flemish highways this year

In 2024, there will be 41 major road construction works on the Flemish highways for an investment of 902 million euros, not including Oosterweel. “The interventions are very diverse,” says Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters (Open Vld). “They range from renewing the road surface to the installation of noise barriers, the construction or rush-hour lanes, and the conversion of traffic complexes.”

In the province of Antwerp, the most significant disruption is expected this week around the Oosterweel works on the ring around Antwerp R1 (right bank of the Scheldt) for constructing the Bypass, a temporary highway.

Focus on bridges or viaducts, and tunnels

This year’s focus is mainly on renovating 16 bridges or viaducts, seven tunnels, and various works of art. The Roads and Traffic Agency (AWV) indicates that it will limit disruption by working at quiet times and keeping as many lanes open as possible.

Significant disruption is expected on the Ring Road around Brussels in Flemish Brabant (R0) due to the renovation of the Leonard Tunnel and the construction of the crossing in the Quatre Bras/Vierarmen Tunnel. In addition, the bridge over the E19 in Zemst and the bridge over the E314 in Leuven toward Brussels is also being maintained.

The swing viaducts at the Zwijnaarde interchange will be reorganized in East Flanders. Those works will continue to cause severe disruption on the E40 and E17 around Ghent until the summer. The asphalt repairs on the R2 at Waasland port – North in Beveren, the renovation of the Beveren tunnel, and the renovation of the Zelzatetunnel service building will also cause traffic jams. In West Flanders, there will be no significant disruption this year.

In Limburg, heavy disruption would occur due to the construction of rush-hour lanes on the E313 between Lummen and Hasselt-West.

Extra travel time around Antwerp

Finally, in the province of Antwerp, the AWV expects the most significant disruption around the Oostereel works on the Ring Road around R1. Construction manager Lantis reports that the work will cause extra travel time. From today, night work will start to narrow the lanes on Antwerp Ring Road toward the Netherlands. A 70 km/hour speed limit will apply between the Antwerp East interchange and the Albert Canal.

From 15 March, the right lane near the Sports Palace will be taken over a length of one kilometer for the construction of the Bypass, the temporary bridge next to the Merksem viaduct. In the direction of the Netherlands, traffic will then have three instead of four lanes. The disappearance of the right-hand land is necessary to free up enough space for constructing the Bypass.


“Taking up the fourth lane on the Ring Road will undoubtedly cause extra travel time,” Lantis says, as more than 80,000 drivers daily pass. “When traffic jams occur, we urge road users to form the mandatory rescue lane to allow emergency services to pass the traffic jam smoothly.” When the Bypass toward the Netherlands is commissioned at the end of 2025, the first part of the old Merksem viaduct will be demolished. Construction of the Bypass toward Ghent/Brussels will then start. Those works will take about a year.

On the night of 12 to 13 March, the Deurne exit will close to traffic on the R1 for several hours. Drivers can still reach the Deurne exit from the E313. Replacing the bridge over the E313 at Ranst will also cause traffic problems in April and August. Works in the Craeybeckx Tunnel and the Rupel Tunnel would cause little disruption.

Minster Peeters also asks that the speed limit be respected near major roadworks. “There will be route controls, and the road police will also keep an eye on things,” the minister says. Therefore, a new national campaign calls for people to inform themselves about the planned work.


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