|The Lange Wapper project in Antwerpen
By Georgi Gruev
The Lange Wapper project in Antwerp yes or no?
On 18 October Antwerp is experiencing an important day. Each citizen, from 16 years, kan express its opinion in the referendum around the project for Oosterweelwerbinding.
It is not clear how large the turnout would be, but the interest and tension surrounding Oosterweelverbinding are great.
The militants of the project argue that it the best solution for traffic problems, bringing together traffic, people and environment
The project provides an integrated solution: both the movement, the city as well as the environment will be better for Antwerpen, so call they it “The natural road”.
The authors of the project have been aware that only the ring would not solve everything. So did the Collective Management Antwerp Mobile (BAM) develop a major plan, the Master Plan Mobility Antwerp. “The natural road” is an important part of that master plan. These are managed a few other projects:
- a green Singel.-all the space for cyclists and pedestrians;
- improved public transport to and from Antwerp;
- waterway as an alternative to motorway.
That will make Antwerp living, easily accessible, and will increase transport security.
The largest part of the project lies on the task to make the ring road. The aim is to stream the transit traffic around the town instead of going through.
That means that the transit traffic which today flow through, will be properly rerouted.
The four pillars of “The natural road” are the Lange Wapper, the Oosteweelverbinding, the Oosterweeltunnel and the road crossing point Oosterweel.
TheLange Wapper is an almost two kilometres long bridge between theOostenweeltunnel and connection to the existing ring. A dubbeldek bridge, so that the traffic flows smoothly. The construction of two main supporting pillars would be: one to the straatsburg bridge, the other to the noordenlaan bridge. The kabels of the bridge would determine the new city silhouette.
The bridge lies on the historic place where the port arose, inland waterways which surround the city.
With the Osterweelverbinding was given the ring separated two roads:
-an outer edge for urban transport, for whom to Hoboken or Merksem wants to drive;
-a inside for transit passage.
Furthermore, there is a link with a different future projects from the master plan: the Green Singel, which pays a great attention to vulnerable road users and public transport.
The new Ooosterweeltunnel will tight the left and the right of the Schelde river.
The architects have chosen for a tunnel whose parts are built in a dry dock, and in parts in the Schelde lowered. These proven technology was also applied for the Kennedytunnel. Then will the road crossing point Oosterweel transit, port and dangerous transport operations from the residential areas eliminate
That will ensure that port and city can develop, for each other. Therefore, would be than the Groenendaalaan, the Eilandje, the AT, the Kaaien, the Waaslandtunnel and the ring back to Antwerp bringing and the city will be calmer and kleaner.
The project shall ensure that the roads take less free area, so that is more space for green. Anti-noise policies are pointed to substantially lower the noise too. In addition, provides the project green areas no fewer than 100,000 square metres.
The project cares not only for the transport, but also for cyclists with a separate tunnel, so that everyone can have undisturbed, free of charge and without a single threat on a green Antwerpse belt drive. The cycle paths will perfectly adjusted to the existing cycle pads in Flanders.
The militants of this option would think that the Lange Wapper has many negative effects such as:
- poor and too wide connection to the ring. While the current situation is 2 bridges, 42 m wide and with 8 stripes, existing long-term wapper hub of 4 bridges, 103 m wide, 19 stripes (for the tunneloptie of arup/sum is the wide 93 m?!);
-the bridge hinders urban development. The Lange Wapper will not only cross at Deurne, Merksem et Luchtbal areas and brings additional noise concerns, but will also mention the Eilandje scheren.
The current viaduct will again be broadened so that the physical splitting between Antwerp on one hand and on the other hand Deurne-North and Merksem once again be inflated.
- it upsets unnecessarily a green area. The work for the long-wapperviaduct needles require the sacrifice of a number Greens natural areas. Thus, the green Environment around the Noordkasteel BAM severely eroded because there is a new crossroad they want to build.
There are also many natural areas on left bank, including the St. Anna wood, that would be disintegrate.
- the upsets the public health to by fine dust and noise pollution.
- even with the Lange Waper the problems of mobility would not be resolved. The traffic jams in the Kennedytunnel remain just as bad, even if the viaduct there would be considered
- shows the situation black and white that there is an alternative that is possible.
- better use and toll free of the Liefkenshoektunnel, a better integration of the Liefkenshoektunnel and E 17 through the existing roads and a fully-fledged north/south Singel for local traffic in the bed of the ring.
- the Arup/Sum alternative: a tunnel of 4,3 km across under the old port with connection on the existing northern road network at the level of Ekeren.
They believe that this is a better solution than long wapperviaduct. A tunnel is normally cheaper and it does not upset of livelihood of Antwerp. The construction of a tunnel is being conducted underground and will not also and inconvenience during the construction work.
A tunnelvariant is better for the public health and is environmentally friendly. With a tunnel goes the transit movement away from city center.
What is the weight of the referendum?
The Flemish Government let literally to know: in order to contribute to the serenity in the field will exercise restraint Flemish Government and ... work out its position after the referendum and the opinion of the city of Antwerp. It makes no sense to play a decision by the antwerpenaren to hunt, repeated Flemish Minister-President we Peters (CD § V).
N-VA-president and member of Antwerpen City Council Bart De Wever has never been entirely for the bridge, but he is also not entirely against. “I am voting yes, that the great mobility plan to save. Otherwise, we come once again where we were ten years ago. Nowhere.”
Mayor patrik Teer Janssens (sp. a) was first for, but now is against the bridge. “I find it strange that not more people believe has changed since then, with what we since the study of the Bureau arup/sum know.”
Then, on 18 October antwerpenaren will exercise their legitimate right for or against Oosterweelverbinding and thereby to prompt an opinion to the Flemish Government.
It is very important for everyone to understand that the Oosterweelbinding and the Lange Wapper are not alone standing projects, but they are an important part of a large plan - the Master Plan Mobility Antwerp.
How is it any further with the Lange Wapper and a tunnel going to develop is still something to see, but in any case that would cost number of years for Antwerpen to solve in an intelligent and forward-looking way its traffic and environmental problems.
Georgi Gruev (Mr)
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