Additional works in Leonard Tunnel cause more disruption

The Roads and Traffic Agency reports that additional work has unexpectedly emerged during the renovation of the Leonard Tunnel in Tervuren. From 16 April, these will cause serious disruption to traffic and residents of the Brussels and Flemish municipalities around the site.

The Auderghem municipality and the Brussels Region have called on the Flemish authorities to suspend the works to develop a mobility plan. The Flemish Mobility Minister refused and indicated that additional information would be sent to the municipalities concerned.

More delays for commuters

Works at the entrance to the Leonard Tunnel, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, have been underway for some time, causing serious disruption on the Brussels inner Ring Road. Engineers for the Roads and Traffic Agency recently found that the damage to the walls of the entrances and the tunnel’s floor slabs was worse than expected.

As a result, additional, inconvenient work had to be carried out at the entrance to the inner ring tunnel tube from 19 March. On 16 April, renovation of the side walls at the exit of the same shaft will start. To carry out those works safely, the connection of the E411 for traffic from Auderghem/Herrmann Debroux and the inner Ring Road towards Waterloo must be closed.

This will also cause delays for commuters leaving Brussels in the evening via Auderghem/Herrmann Debroux, to head towards Waterloo. They will have to detour.

The Flemish Traffic Center expects that residents of the surrounding municipalities will also experience additional inconvenience from the new phase due to additional cut-through traffic via local roads. Commuters are, therefore, advised to ignore route advice from GPS navigation applications and stay on the main roads.

No suspension of the works

Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen) has requested urgent consultations with the cabinet of her Flemish colleague Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) and her administration about the works. She did so after the Auderghem municipality insisted on suspending the works. In response, Peeters said she would ask her administration to provide additional information to both the local authorities and the Brussels Region but that there can be no question of suspending the works.

These works, which have been ongoing since April 2023, are a much-needed investment of at least 28 million euros, with which Minister Peeters wants to guarantee safety and extend the lifespan of the Leonard Tunnel.

Peeters also points out that the worksite is part of the Great Worksites, which always involve large-scale communications. The Roads and Traffic Agency has also previously had several contacts with the police zones involved, local authorities, and various stakeholders on Flemish and Brussels territory. She acknowledged that additional clarification on the phase change is, of course, possible.

Not informed, says Auderghem

According to Mayor Sophie De Vos (DéFI), the Flemish authorities informed Auderghem on Friday about a new phase of the works on the Leonard intersection. Auderghem officials say the municipality was not informed about the first phase of the works either in March.

Given the size of the traffic jams and the difficult access possibilities, the fire brigade has already warned that they will no longer be able to intervene in the event of an accident.

The Leonard intersection sees 100,000 cars daily.


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