The Papendrecht-based construction and dredging company Boskalis will work together to improve the notoriously busy ring road in Antwerp. The mega project with 500 million euros was awarded to a consortium to which Boskalis belongs.
The Antwerp ring road is completely blocked by the Oosterweel connection, a tunnel under the Scheldt in the west of the city. From 1907, Boskalis will be responsible for building a large crossing in the port area and replacing an adjacent lock.
The new intersection will be partially sunk, for which a 15 to 30 meter deep tunnel bank will be built. To do this, more than three million m3 of land must be moved. The new castle will be 230 meters long and 36 meters wide.
The access to the ring road will be the largest Flemish infrastructure project ever mentioned. The Boskalis project is only one of five sub-projects. A total of more than 3.2 billion euros will be made available for the mega-project.
Decades of discussion
The improvement of traffic in Antwerp has been discussed for decades. The ring road is the busiest stretch of motorway in Belgium and a thorn in the side of the local authorities due to the many traffic jams. A solution has long been a long way off, due to objections from residents and action groups and differing political disagreements.
For example, there have been long discussions about building a bridge instead of a tunnel. For years Flemish politics was divided over this “Lange Wapper”. The gigantic structure would pollute the skyline and hinder future city expansion, but was a cheaper option than a tunnel.
Last November the fiat Issued for the environmental permit for the Oosterweel connection so that a final start can take place. Work is scheduled to begin this year. The entire project must be completed by 2030.