Brussels ‘unexpectedly’ closes down two more car tunnels for summer works

Brussels ‘unexpectedly’ closes down two more car tunnels for summer works
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Local authorities are fuming and bracing for a “mobility drama” in Brussels after they said that regional officials unexpectedly shut down two major car tunnels until the end of the summer.

In a Tweet posted Wednesday, Brussels Mobility announced that the Rogier Tunnel in northern Brussels would be closed down from that day and throughout the month of July.

“The Botanique tunnel will also be inaccessible,” the regional mobility agency tweeted, referring to the adjacent tunnel and adding that both would be shut 24/7.

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The announcement brings the number of tunnels that will be completely closed during the summer to three, after the agency previously announced the closure of the Leopold II tunnel for works.

Local officials accused the region of acting unilaterally and of communicating the measure at the last minute, saying it would cause serious mobility headaches to motorists in the capital.

The three tunnels which will be closed run across the north of downtown Brussels, cutting through the territories of municipalities like Molenbeek, Ganshoren and Brussels 1000.

“No one was informed of the closure of the Rogier Tunnel yesterday,” Molenbeek Councillor Françoise Schepmans said. “The lack of communication will cause dramatic traffic conditions.”

“We were faced with a fait accompli,” Ganshoren Mobility Councillor Magali Cornelissen told Bruzz. “Our job is to reassure residents and prepare them for such difficult situations.”

Schepmans also said that Brussels Mobility officials had failed to bring the subject up during a meeting two weeks ago where she “emphasised the importance of a good communication plan to [Regional Mobility Minister] Elke Van den Brandt.”

A spokesperson for Brussels Mobility, Inge Paemen, dismissed the complaints and said the regional authority had communicated as they usually did.

“We communicated through our usual channels, through Twitter and on our website,” she said, acknowledging some communication delays which were “largely due to the corona crisis.”

The recent announcement means that motorists in Brussels will have to navigate a total of six complete or partial tunnel-closures throughout the summer.

The Georges Henri and Montgomery tunnels, in western Brussels, will be open only between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM in July and August, and the Delta Tunnel in Auderghem will partially close between 6 July and 14 August, Bruzz reports.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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