The council of the commune of Brussels-City has offered its approval, with some conditions, to the extension of the Brussels ring-road, according to Els Ampe, councillor in charge of mobility. The plan is the idea of the Flemish regional government, on whose territory the Ring lies. However Brussels demanded to be consulted, given the impact of the changes would have on traffic entering or leaving the city.
The Flemish government plan involves increasing the number of lanes to speed up through traffic and allow the passage of local traffic while cutting down the number of lane changes required of drivers who want to leave the Ring – considered to be the main cause of some 1,000 accidents a year.
The project will cost €2 billion, with work beginning next year.
Ampe has been in touch with the company which will carry out the works, and laid out the council’s conditions. Those include changes to some of the exits due to be scrapped, including the one to Wemmel, as well as better cycle lanes between Laeken and Wemmel and Laeken and Grimbergen.
However not everyone on the council appears so decided. In particular, mayor Philippe Close stated that the question had neither been accepted nor rejected until a consensus could be found on the level of the Brussels region. Brussels-City, which borders the Rig only in parts, was not prepared to go it alone, he said. The communes of Jette and Forest have already given a negative opinion.
The decision of the council was “tragic,” according to Bart Dhondt, head of the green coalition Ecolo-Groen in opposition. And he pointed to a recent movement by parents of schoolchildren to demonstrate for cleaner air in the city. “The enlargement of the Ring will intensify traffic and further degrade the quality of our air.”