Nicolas Maeterlinck

Checks at the border cause tailbacks on the motorways

With all non-essential cross border travel banned under the measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 police are carrying out checks on motorways and main roads that cross Belgium’s borders with neighbouring country. While freight traffic is allowed through, all cars that wish to cross the border are checked to ensure that those inside have a bonafide reason for crossing the border

This coupled with the fact that municipal authorities have blocked many minor roads and tracks that those wishing to avoid the border checks might have used means that cross border traffic is now concentrated onto trunk roads and motorways.

This led to a long tailback of traffic on one of the two motorways that links Antwerp to the Dutch border on Tuesday morning. Traffic tailed back more than 10 kilometres, despite the number of vehicles on the road being well down on a normal weekday as many people are working at home. There were also tailbacks on the other motorway that links Antwerp with the Dutch border the A12.

Anyone found to be trying to cross the border without a valid reason (going to or from work, an essential journey to help a person in need…) was issued with a fine and turned away.

Meanwhile, the municipality of Beveren (East Flanders) has blokkaded most of its border roads to prevent traffic crossing undetected. There one road between Beveren and the Dutch province of Zeeland remains open and police checks are in place. On Monday a number of municipalities in West Flanders blocked off roads and tracks that cross the border into France.