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Brussels new metro line is delayed by six months

Illustration picture shows people exiting a metro wagon in Brussels. © Belga/Thierry Roge

Commuters in Brussels will have to wait further before a new metro line is rolled out after mobility officials said construction works were running six months late.

“We have calculated a delay of six months,” Regional Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt said, adding that they were aiming to have the metro line be operational by June 2025.

Van den Brandt said that the delay was due to several factors, including delayed permits, the complexity of the construction works and the coronavirus pandemic.

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“With this type of construction it is not always easy to stick to the timing and budget —after all, unexpected things continuously pop up,” Van den Brandt said in an interview with La Dernière Heure.

Spanning some 10 kilometres and 18 stations, the new line will link together the northernmost tip of Brussels to its south, cutting through central areas like Rogier, Bourse or the lively Parvis de Saint-Gilles, before ending in the municipality of Forest’s Albert station.

Van den Brandt said that officials wanted the coming addition to the Belgian capital’s transport network to be completely accessible to commuters with limited mobility, saying that work was ongoing to obtain necessary permits.

Construction works kicked off in August and are part of an ambitious mobility package laid out by the regional government, which include extending the city’s tram network, cutting down the maximum speed limit in built-up areas.

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, Van den Brandt’s seized on the motor traffic lull to lead an aggressive push to boost cycling in the capital, extending the regional cycling network and offering support to municipalities to create more cycling infrastructure.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times