Construction of Brussels metro line 3 partially halted

Construction of Brussels metro line 3 partially halted
Construction site of the Metro 3 line and the new 'Toots Thielemans' station on Avenue Stalingrad. Credit: Belga / Nils Quintelier

Construction of the metro line 3 has been suspended from Gare du Nord until Bordet Station, L’Echo reports, casting doubt over the future of the new line, which has already faced major setbacks that threaten to push it millions of euros over budget.

Yet rather than publically announce the changed construction schedule, news about the suspension of works was only uncovered when Beliris (the Capital Region’s federal investment fund) posted a job listing searching for a candidate to redirect the twenty or so workers who had been constructing the metro line in Schaerbeek. 

The job offer explained that the workers would soon be losing their jobs due to the construction being halted. Beliris subsequently confirmed to L’Echo that works had come to a halt after civil engineers raised their price estimation for the project in mid-April. 

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Faced with these additional costs, Beliris is now awaiting a decision from the Brussels government; four main solutions are under consideration: accepting the higher costs; suspending work while awaiting proposals from other engineers; overhauling the project plans; or completely stopping construction for the time being.

In a statement to The Brussels Times, Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort explained that his government was "very surprised" at the news and revealed that the regional ministers will meet on Thursday to discuss the project's future. "No decision has yet been taken," Vervoort said. Meanwhile, the Brussels government’s Employment Minister Bernard Clerfayt criticised how the suspension was announced on Twitter.

Translation of tweet: "This form of communication is shocking! Especially since it concerns a major project for the Region of Brussels-Capital"

This is the latest in a series of issues to impact the project, which is supposed to link the capital’s northern and southern areas by 2030. Earlier this year, it was revealed that a 120-metre-long tunnel vital to the metro line’s construction had to be built.

A proposal would have seen works commence underneath the Palais du Midi building, however many have criticised the idea due to the soggy soil terrain below the ground.

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