Brussels mayor threatens to close Botanique tunnel if damage isn't repaired

Brussels mayor threatens to close Botanique tunnel if damage isn't repaired
The Botanique tunnel in Brussels and its balustrades. Credit: Belga

The mayor of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Emir Kir, has threatened to close the Botanique tunnel in the northeast of Brussels if certain elements of the bridge that are posing a danger to public safety aren't fixed soon.

In a detailed report ordered by Kir, it was revealed that certain elements of the balustrade hanging above the entrance to the tunnel have become completely detached and are at risk of falling on vehicles below, both on the Boulevard du Jardin Botanique side and on the Rue Royale side.

"I am calling on the Region to begin the works to secure this side of the balustrade, without delay. If the work is not carried out within 48 hours, I will be forced to adopt a police decree imposing the temporary closure of the Tunnel," Kir said in a press release on Tuesday. 

According to the report, a small push or some weight being put on the balustrades could result in them crumbling.

The mayor's office informed the Brussels-Mobility services of the situation when the results of the analysis came in and stressed the urgent need for the Region to act in its capacity as manager of this tunnel, however, this warning was "not followed by concrete action."

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On 29 July, the municipal services installed a safety device to prevent any human contact with the balustrades, and at the same time, a letter of formal notice was sent to the Regional Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, requesting that the railings on the tunnel's side be secured.

It also called for the necessary works to be carried out to permanently secure and stabilise them to definitively avoid any slipping of elements of any kind within 30 days.

However, as this has still not been done, according to the municipality, it has increased its pressure on the competent authorities by threatening to close the tunnel temporarily.

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