The installation of two new bridges for cyclists and pedestrians over the Brussels canal – one close to the Mima museum and one at the Comte de Flandre metro stop – started in the Molenbeek commune last weekend.
The bridges, which have to better the connection between Molenbeek and the city of Brussels for cyclists and pedestrians, arrived in Brussels by boat last week and were put in place this weekend.
“For years, we had to do everything in our power to pull and tug the difficult issue of the bridges over the canal,” said Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism Pascal Smet on Facebook.
“But now, bridges are being pulled and tugged through the canal and soon they will stay there for good,” he added.
“For a long time, the entire district was a wasted urban area,” Smet added. “Today it is becoming a nice neighbourhood, with a new park, a new square, safe cycle lanes and lots of urban activities.”
The bridges were financed and installed by Beliris, the federal investment fund for Brussels, which allocated €3.5 million for the purpose.
On Saturday, the installation of the first bridge at the Port de Ninove, close to the Mima museum, started. The bridge is 38 metres long and 7 metres wide and weighs 160 tonnes. The second, smaller bridge was installed at Comte de Flandre on Sunday: 30 metres long, 6.15 metres wide and weighing 87 tonnes.
“These bridges will create more efficient connections between the neighbourhoods for pedestrians and cyclists, especially thanks to their connection with the regional cycle route along the canal,” Beliris said on its website.
Now that they have been their installation, however, the bridges will still need to be finished, and will only be completely ready for use by September.
“After the summer, with the new bridge at Comte de Flandre, it will connect Brussels even more, both literally and figuratively,” tweeted Federal Minister in charge of Beliris, Karine Lalieux. “This zone will be an important hub in the future of Brussels.”
A few weeks ago, the Suzan Daniel bridge – which is also intended for cyclists and pedestrians – was already installed over the canal near Tour & Taxis as part of the same effort to better connect both sides of the city, but it has not yet been connected.
Once finished, it will be an important link between the North of Brussels and the Tour & Taxis, according to Lalieux, who said that “these bridges and overpasses are redrawing Brussels, a richly multicultural city.”