E40 city boulevard project in Brussels facing first big test on Monday

It had been announced in February by the Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet, and now the moment has come: this weekend heralds major changes for those taking the E40 to enter the capital from the eastern side, as the final part of the motorway will become a city boulevard. The same goes for the A12 entering the city from the north. 

The number of lanes on the E40 will be reduced from 6 to 4, and the maximum speed will gradually be lowered to 50 kilometres per hour (30 miles) on Brussels territory. The aim of the project is to improve living conditions in the capital. Mr Smet (Flemish socialist) argues that the jams will start on the E40 now, where they used to be in Brussels.

"By keeping the jams outside the capital, we follow in the footsteps of many other European cities. This will not only improve the quality of life, but also air quality. The motorways are scars on Brussels", he explained early February. 

The first phase will face its first big test tomorrow morning. Some expect longer jams, others think the jams will just form at a different place. After this first phase (which mainly consists of different markings, i.e. extra white lines), more infrastructure works will follow.  The Flemish Mobility Minister Ben Weyts (Flemish nationalist) is not amused, as he is afraid this will cause longer tailbacks on the Flemish road network.

The Flemish Mobility Minister Ben Weyts is not amused