Long traffic jams for the second day in a row while working on a new bridge over the E313: “We warned people about this” (Ranst)

Long traffic jams for the second day in a row while working on a new bridge over the E313: “We warned people about this” (Ranst)
Long traffic jams for the second day in a row while working on a new bridge over the E313: “We warned people about this” (Ranst)

The old Vaartstraat bridge, over the E313 highway in Ranst, was in urgent need of replacement. A few years ago, the bridge was seriously damaged when a truck crashed into the underside. After the necessary investigations, the Roads and Traffic Agency (AWV) decided that a new bridge was the only option to guarantee road safety.

Those works started on Tuesday. And the drivers knew that, because they have been waiting in long traffic jams for two days now. There is disruption both in the direction of Antwerp and in the direction of Hasselt. “We have been announcing for a number of months that there would be inconvenience due to that construction site and that people had to take into account traffic jams and delays near Ranst,” said Stefanie Nagels, spokesperson for AWV.

READ ALSO. Work on a new bridge over the E313 in Ranst is causing heavy traffic jams

The fact that two lanes are closed in both directions at this time is a well-considered decision. “We plan the works that will cause the greatest disruption especially during the Easter holidays because the traffic volumes during those holiday periods – even though it may not seem that way now – are much lower than in other periods. But this is effectively the nuisance we expected and about which we had warned people,” Nagels clarifies.

Closing those two lanes is necessary to make way for pile foundations. “This requires enormous machines and we need that space to ensure that traffic can pass through at a safe distance.” Only once these foundations have been placed can more space become available for traffic.

However, many drivers do not appear to avoid the area around the shipyard. “The nuisance is always the worst during the first days of a construction site. It still takes a bit of searching for people. Even though we warn about this in advance, people still want to try it. Only when they notice that there is an actual nuisance will they perhaps look for an alternative,” says Nagels. “We hope that things will stabilize in the coming days.”

Less disruption to come

The original plan was to switch back to three lanes in both directions only from April 20. “But because we have now noticed that there is extremely much inconvenience, the contractor has adjusted his plan,” says Nagels. In the direction of Hasselt, a lane will be available from April 15, in order to avoid the backlash from the nuisance on the Antwerp Ring Road. The extra lane in the direction of Antwerp will be available from April 20.

From May 5, all lanes will reopen until the summer. The bridge girders will be placed in the summer. “To do that, we have to allow traffic to cross over the median so that we can close half of the highway. We therefore expect some disruption at that location again during that period.”

This nuisance will decrease again from September, when the bridge is completed. “We do everything we can to limit this inconvenience and plan the largest works that cause the most inconvenience during periods of low traffic. We also ask people to avoid the area as much as possible if they do not have to be there,” Nagels concludes.

The article is in Dutch


Tags: Long traffic jams day row working bridge E313 warned people Ranst


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