Next week on 1 July sees the start of work on the Leopold II tunnel between Rogier and the Basilique of Koekelberg, which will close the tunnel in both directions, and cause predictable traffic chaos in the city centre and elsewhere. Unlike previous works, this stage will see the tunnel closed day and night, forcing drivers coming to and from the city centre from the east of the country to find alternative routes.
For anyone coming from Antwerp, the A12 is recommended, whereas commuters from the south should take the Boulevard Industrielle in Anderlecht. At the end of the day, the N8 Chaussée de Ninove is recommended.
On the Avenue Charles Quint in Koekelberg, just outside of the tunnel, a special lane has been created – given the expected influx of cars – for buses, emergency vehicles, taxis and motor cycles, as well as a cycle-path.
Around the Elisabeth Park, above the tunnel, a one-way system has been introduced, with a clockwise lane for buses and an anti-clockwise lane for traffic leaving the city.
Finally, the Parking C at the Heysel complex will be open to provide 1,000 free parking spaces for commuters who prefer to leave their vehicles on the outskirts and take public transport to their destinations in the city. In the daytime hours, a free shuttle service will bring drivers from the parking lot to the nearest metro station, ten minutes’ walk away.
The Leopold II tunnel is Brussels’ longest and busiest, bringing commuters into and out of the city every day. But it is in a shocking state, and every day carries the possibility that a concrete panel will drop from the roof onto a car, with fatal consequences. The repairs are unavoidable, but the consequences are sure to be disruptive.