Festive opening of A11 highway is icing on the cake after 42 months of strict planning and hard work
Today, at about 11 am, the A11 highway was opened in West Flanders (Belgium) by Flemish Mobility and Public Works Minister Ben Weyts. Within a couple of days, the first cars will take the new A11, which connects the port of Zeebrugge and its hinterland. The opening also marks the end of six different project site areas.
The consortium ‘Via Brugge’ was responsible for building this technical masterpiece between the spring of 2014 and today. Via Brugge and its client, the Flemish roads and traffic agency (‘Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer’), are justifiably proud of the result, the new A11, which can now be taken into use, exactly 42 months after the start of the works.
The A11 connects
The A11 has three main objectives. On the one hand, the highway creates a smooth connection between the ‘Blue Tower’ in Bruges and Knokke-Heist. The new road will also improve the access to the sea port of Bruges and promote traffic safety by separating port traffic from local traffic. At the same time, it will improve the region’s living and residential quality. For local traffic, new connecting roads and safe cycling routes will bring cyclists in a pleasant way to the various polder villages. Finally, the brand new A11 will make sure that tourists can drive fluently to and from the coast.
Smart infrastructure, with respect for the environment
Via Brugge started the construction works for this technical masterpiece in the spring of 2014. Over the past few years, a great deal of new infrastructure has been built. New intersections to the N31, the N49, the ‘Blue Tower’ and the port of Zeebrugge ensure a smooth and safe exchange between the different traffic flows. Movable bridges across the Baudouin Canal use state-of-the-art technology to gear road traffic and shipping to one another. The new, elevated roundabout at the roads ‘Natiënlaan’ and ‘Dudzelestraat’ ensures a better traffic flow as well as a safe passageway for cyclists. Besides, the latter group is also given extra bicycle paths and new bicycle tunnels to improve their cycling comfort.
Throughout the project, maximum consideration is given to the environment and local residents. Noise pollution is prevented to the maximum extent possible. Think of, among others, the lower location of the A11 at the tunnels in Westkapelle or the noise barriers built along the viaduct. The general respect for the surrounding landscapes and local fauna and flora on the other is illustrated by the creation of wildlife passages and the architecture of the viaduct, which has been built in such a way that the underlying meadows always get sufficient daylight.