Antwerp "cut in two"

The city of Antwerp is braced for traffic chaos as one of the most important traffic arteries of the city, the Leien, is being cut in two for 18 months in order to allow works to proceed on the Operaplein. The works mean that north-south traffic on this thoroughfare will become impossible.

Until yesterday motorists wishing to travel from the courts of justice in the south of the city to northern Antwerp could use Antwerp's legendary Leien to cross the city. The thoroughfare was cut in two last night. Car tunnels are being constructed beneath the otherwise so busy Operaplein. A tram station and a car park are planned too.

Closing the Operaplein is a drastic measure. Residents and commuters have been the target of an information blitz. Both are being seduced with free tram tickets and electric bike trials.

The disruption is likely to be limited today as Whit Sunday is a public holiday. The real test will be on Tuesday, the first day of the working week for most Antwerpners.