Last Monday the official starting gun was fired for the building of the new tunnel under the River Scheldt. Seen as the crowning glory of the Oosterweel connection construction project, this direct connection between the left and right banks will complete the Antwerp Ring Road. Architectural studio ZJA, commissioned by Lantis, is responsible for the architectonic design of the tunnel and the accompanying service buildings, and the way it fits into its surroundings.
Mobility and quality of life
Antwerp has struggled for years with immense traffic congestion and endless tailbacks on the Ring. With the Oosterweel Connection the flow of traffic will improve, noise and air pollution will be reduced and the quality of life increased. Furthermore, putting the road underground creates space for new parks and the spatial relationships between city districts will be restored.
An excellent connection for motorists and cyclists
The Scheldt tunnel, almost two kilometres long, will not just be an important connection for motorized traffic. Cyclists will get a separate tunnel of their own, and it will be a significant link in the city’s cycle network. The light-dark contrasts are a striking feature of the ZJA design, as are the flowing lines and the slatted facades of the service buildings and the tunnel mouth.
Two birds with one stone
Over the next two years, eight impressive tunnel elements will be built in a gigantic construction dock in Zeebrugge. As they are hauled over the water to their final position, to be sunk into place, the temporary walls of the dock will disappear. The required widening of the Boudewijn Canal will thereby be achieved at the same time.
Come and look
For anyone who wants to see for themselves: on 7 May 2023 the construction site in Zeebrugge will be open to the public as part of Open Wervendag and Vlaamse Havendag.