Built in the early 80ies, the tunnel opened in 1986. It is the main link to the centre for motorists coming from Ghent and the western side of Brussels (the E40 Motorway and the Big Orbital Road). Boasting a length of 2,534 metres, it's among Belgium's longest tunnels.
The renovation of the tunnel starts on 1 May. During the school year, the works will mostly take place during the night (between 10PM and 6AM) but the tunnel will be permanently closed in July and August in the next three summers.
It will take over 3 years to finish the renovation. "We opted for a compromise. It will take 39 months, but we didn't want to make life too hard for motorists, keeping it open during the day", explains the Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet. "We wanted to keep Brussels accessible during the works."
Smet added there was no other option than to renovate: "This was really necessary to guarantee safety standards."
What to do to avoid the jams?
Smet is warning motorists to take into account the new situation, especially in summer. "Try to come to the capital by public transport or by bicycle." To help commuters, the Brussels public transport company MIVB and Belgian Rail will boost tram, bus, metro and train services. "If you have no other option than the car, you will need to follow the diversions, or try carpooling."
Motorists coming from the west, are requested to use the A12 entrance. To leave the capital, they can use the same road (via Van Praet) or the Ninoofsesteenweg. (see map).