The maximum speed limit on most parts of the Brussels ring road will drop to 100 kilometres per hour from next week.
From Tuesday, drivers on the busy motorway will have to lift their foot off the pedal to comply with the speed reduction, slashed in a bid to improve road safety and cut down on pollution.
Crossing the three regions of Belgium, management of the road's 75 kilometres is split between regional mobility and road safety officials in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
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The changes have been endorsed by mobility officials in both Brussels and Flanders after they were included in Brussels' regional mobility and climate plans.
"100 km/h means more road safety, better air quality, less noise and emissions," Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van Den Brandt told HLN. "This is an important investment in the quality of life [of residents] in and around Brussels."
On Thursday, Van Den Brandt and her Flemish counterpart, Lydia Peeters, together with Flemish Minister for Brussels Benjamin Dalle, unveiled the first of hundreds of new signs set to signal the changes to motorists.
But the move by Brussels and Flanders has not been endorsed by Wallonia, who manages 18 out of the 75 km of the ring road, on which the speed limit is set to remain at the current 120km/h.
"The configuration of the ring in Wallonia is not the same as elsewhere — we have parts that are much more like a highway," Jean-Philippe Lombardi, spokesperson for Wallonia's road safety minister, Valérie de Bue, said in a phone statement.
"We are opting to go for a system of dynamic speed limits, which change depending on driving conditions such as the weather, or traffic density," he said, adding that the goal for Wallonia was to have regulations that were pertinent for drivers.
"Studies have shown that, when the rules are not coherent or not pertinent, drivers will simply not respect them," he said, adding that Walloon authorities were currently working on a system to roll out a dynamic system of speed regulations.
In the Flemish and Brussels parts of the ring road, areas where lower speed limits of 70 and 90 km/h apply will remain unchanged.
The Brussels Times