Due to planned maintenance on the metro network, Brussels public transport operator STIB had warned of disruptions to metro line 5 this weekend. But the works have now been blocked by the Etterbeek municipality.
As reported on Thursday, the metro line 5 between Merode (next to Parc du Cinquantenaire) and Herrmann-Debroux (where Brussels borders with Flanders) was expected to be interrupted this weekend due to renewal works on the infrastructure of the lines near Hankar metro station in the municipality of Auderghem.
Rather than prolonging the works over several weeks, STIB decided to interrupt metro traffic so that works could be completed in a few days. However, STIB announced on Thursday night "an order from the Etterbeek municipality" has blocked their plan.
"Due to the unexpected decision, STIB will maintain the interruption of line 5 between Merode and Herrmann-Debroux on Friday, but the metro will be able to run normally on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 November," STIB spokesperson An Van hamme noted.
Shuttle buses will transport passengers between Merode station and Herrmann-Debroux terminus for the duration of the metro interruption on Friday
The major maintenance aims to allow for more frequent metros by creating a better connection between line 5 and the Delta and Erasmus depots. Yet Etterbeek municipality cited the noise nuisance these works could cause as reason to block them.
The decision came in spite of several meetings that took place between the municipality and STIB, which agreed not to carry out any of the works at night. "Local residents were also informed. Nevertheless, the mayor of Etterbeek took a police order banning the works during the long weekend."
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The decision has "serious financial and organisational consequences for STIB." Not only will it impact passenger services, but also the "important development of mobility and public transport in Brussels."
"STIB absolutely has to carry out these works and now reschedule them over the course of a working week. This means night work for several weeks, which will cause more inconvenience to local residents."