Wednesday sees the start of two sets of major roadworks: repairs to the Wilsele viaduct near Leuven on the E314, and works on the Gentbrugge viaduct on the E17 near Ghent.
Both works had been scheduled to start last month, but were postponed because of the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.
In normal times, both works would have been the cause of serious traffic disruption. As it is, with a nationwide lockdown reducing traffic on the roads, the problem is likely to be much less serious.
The Wilsele works will involve narrowed traffic lanes and a speed limit of 50km/h on the stretch affected, for a duration of 18 months. “During a normal morning rush hour, that would lead to enormous tailbacks,” said Veva Daniels of the Flemish agency for roads and traffic (AWV).
It was Flemish minister for public works Lydia Peeters who called for the suspension of works to be lifted, given the much-reduced flow of traffic using the section of road.
“We’re glad we can gets started now, otherwise everything would back up and the whole project would suffer serious delays,” AWV said.
The works on the viaduct are a prelude to the construction of a new rush-hour lane to ease congestion on the E314 between Leuven and Aarschot, due to be ready by 2022.
From today, the approach roads Wilsele/Kessel-Lo in both directions will be closed until summer 2021. The off-road Wilsele/Kessel-Lo direction Brussels closes on Friday until the beginning of next year.
Meanwhile today also sees the start of repair work on the notorious Gentbrugge viaduct on the E17, which is literally falling to pieces.
The first stage of works on the Kortrijk-bound carriageway will last until November. Work on the Antwerp-bound carriageway are scheduled for next year.
Repairs will reduce each carriageway to two lanes. From 23 April the off-ramp coming from Antwerp on the N9 in Gentbrugge will be closed, as well as the on-ramp of the N9 to the E17 direction Antwerp. More details here.
The AWV stressed that the rules on social distancing will be strictly observed during the works, including during travel to and from the sites.