Saturday, 21 August 2021
Liège Mayor Willy Demeyer (PS) announced on Friday evening that he would issue a decree banning the transit of heavy goods vehicles in the city as it faces major mobility issues resulting from the massive flooding that took place there.
The text for the decree is already being drafted, and the extraordinary move was made in anticipation of a worsening of mobility problems expected with the start of the school year.
The closure of a section of the E25/40, also known as the tunnel under Cointe, is the main cause of the congestion.
That connection was extremely affected by the rise in water levels during the deadly flooding.
Initially completely closed, some sections have been gradually reopened to traffic.
The last section, from Val-Benoît to the Grosses-Battes exit, will not be accessible until mid-October.
Once it’s reopened, motorists will only be able to drive on it in a restricted manner at first, including with a reduced maximum speed and a reduction in the number of traffic lanes.
“Until then, we have 80,000 vehicles a day using routes that are already saturated,” said the mayor.
In addition to the damage done to major roadways, the Belgian railway network was also badly affected.
Many lines are blocked, a bridge has collapsed, mudslides have washed away the ballast in many places and several sections are no longer passable due to the collapse of the embankment on which the tracks rest, according to the agencies.
It will take until at least the end of summer before service is restored.
Some elected officials in Liège are calling for a modal shift in the future in order to relieve congestion in the city and make it less dependent on the now damaged roadway link.
Among the proposed solutions are the development of railways in the Liège region, more cycle paths and the creation of a second tram line linking the Vesdre to the town of Ans.
The Brussels Times