This weekend, the monumental Leopold II tunnel, which links the tunnels of the inner ring around Brussels to the approaches to the motorway at Groot-Bijgaarden, will close for two full months in both directions. The closure, despite being planned for the summer holiday period, is nevertheless expected to cause serious disruption to traffic in and out of the city.
The tunnel and its users have been plagued in recent years by a dilapidated physical condition of the tunnel, with breaking down concrete panels and other issues. The works on the tunnel are planned to last 39 months, with the complete closure during the summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020. The works will include everything from structure to ventilation to emergency exits to the removal of asbestos.
The Leopold II tunnel sees some 80,000 car passengers a day, coming from East and West Flanders to work in Brussels, and then departing later for home.
Alternatives are on offer for those who use the tunnel:
The Brussels public transport authority STIB is to increase its service between Rogier, where the tunnel begins, to Simonis, at the entrance to the Elisabeth Park. Further services, like tram 19, carry on to the end of the tunnel at the start of Avenue Charles-Quint, close to the on-road to the E40 at Grand-Bijgaard.
The Stib has also provided a parking lot at the Heysel complex, with a link to the metro into the city, free between 0630 and 2200.