The connecting tunnel under the North Station must connect the southern part of the future metro line (the conversion of the pre-metro into a metro) with the northern, new part to the depot in Haren.
The fact that the works have been stopped was stated in L’Echo on Saturday and was confirmed by client Beliris. He calls the situation completely unexpected. “We mapped out everything before the works started,” says Elien De Swaef, spokesperson for Beliris. “It was already anticipated that the groundwater level was above the level of the works. We have therefore provided large pumping installations to lower the groundwater level below the level of the works.” However, the groundwater level appears to be even higher.
Due to the unforeseen problems with the groundwater level under the North Station, work on the connecting tunnel has been halted until a technical solution has been found. “We had to determine that a clay layer under the raised railway embankment is holding the water, which means we cannot pump the water away as quickly as anticipated.”
Work on the connecting tunnel between Vooruitsstraat and Aarschotstraat has been at a standstill since the spring of last year, although according to Beliris, “hard work has been done behind the scenes on a solution”. The works are on hold to save costs while a solution is sought, together with the contractors and railway manager Infrabel. “We do not yet have information about the impact on the schedule or budget.”
Beliris guarantees that train traffic will not be affected if the works – whether or not including an alternative construction method – are resumed. “If there is an impact on the tracks, we will carry out the repairs at night or during the weekend,” De Swaef concludes.
South Palace and Colignon Square
Many obstacles hinder the large-scale metro project, including the debacle surrounding the South Palace and the high costs of the project (up to 4.3 billion euros). According to some, the project is the Brussels headache par excellence.
More problems may arise for the Brussels infrastructure project in the future. This also applies to the Schaarbeek town hall on Colignonplein, where a metro stop of the same name is also planned in the future.
According to the Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites (KCML), the town hall in neo-Flemish Renaissance style, solemnly opened in 1919 by the King’s soldier Albert I, is in danger of becoming unstable as a result of the excavation works for the Colignon metro station, which is partly under the town hall will be located.
Beliris is also concerned about possible damage to the town hall. For this reason, many precautionary measures are being planned to protect the iconic town hall of the Donkey Community from damage.
Two types of measures are taken to prevent damage to the building. “The foundations of the town hall will be strengthened and the subsoil will be frozen while the work is being carried out,” De Swaef explains. “With compensation jacks, any ground movements that might still occur can be corrected. This involves millimeter work.”
Furthermore, measuring systems with sensors and mirrors on the facade of the city hall and neighboring buildings will continuously monitor and monitor every movement of the building during the construction of the metro station. “Techniques that have already proven themselves in the construction of the Schuman-Josaphat tunnel,” says De Swaef. In addition, a site description will also be drawn up before and after the works on Colignonplein, partly drawn up by an agency recognized by an insurance company.