The Leonard Tunnel, under the intersection of the E411 and R0 in Tervuren, has four tubes, one for each direction of travel on each highway. Since its construction in the 1960s and 1970s, the tunnel's concrete has suffered from seeping water, de-icing salts, and exhaust fumes.
"Many of our bridges and tunnels were built in the '60s - '70s - '80s and are now seriously outdated. To efficiently address this historical maintenance backlog and guarantee safety, I am working on a plan of action 2020 - 2030 and we are allocating unprecedentedly large sums of money. Improving the condition of our bridges and tunnels is therefore high on my list of priorities. Thus, in this legislature we are investing 200 million euros in the urgent short-term renovations of the tunnels. For the renovation of the Leonard tunnel we are talking about 28 million euros. A much-needed investment with which we want to guarantee safety and extend its lifespan."
- Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works
In-depth renovation to extend the lifespan of the tunnel
In the following months, Jan De Nul will thoroughly renovate the tunnel. The concrete of the walls and ceilings will be repaired or replaced if necessary. The roof slab will receive a special treatment with cathodic protection. This technique creates a permanent low voltage in the reinforcement steel, preventing it from further rusting. Safety in the tunnel shafts shall also be significantly improved. Jan De Nul is going to install new fire-resistant panels and escape doors between the shafts. There will also be new cameras, speakers, lighting, and ventilation. Finally, the road surface of the highway will also be renewed.
The tunnel will remain open during the day
Work on the R0 tunnel will last until spring 2024. After that, works on the tunnel of the E411 will commence. The works should be completed by the beginning of 2025. To limit traffic disruption, Jan De Nul is working on the tunnels at night, closing them completely and diverting traffic. The tunnels will remain open during the day, with a minimum of two lanes available in each direction on weekdays.