Renovation of railway station area in Mechelen, Belgium
THE FINAL PART OF THE BELGIAN HIGH-SPEED NETWORK
The new railway bypass, a three-kilometre track with the aim of giving Mechelen-Centraal station two extra tracks, is located south of the city. This allows a speed increase from 100 to 160 kilometres per hour, making the passage possible for international through trains. These new tracks also offer more possibilities for the Regional Express Network (RER) around Brussels and the Diabolo connection to Brussels Airport.
The new Tangent circular road, a four-lane road, will improve access to Mechelen station and will also separate through traffic from local traffic.
The project includes a better and safer connection for cyclists and pedestrians that connects with the bicycle highway from Antwerp and to Brussels.
Three subprojects of the project 'Mechelen in Beweging' (Mechelen in motion)
The Mechelen railway station area was given a complete makeover between 2013 and 2022. Contractor THV STAMechelen built the railway bypass for the high-speed network, the new Tangent circular road and the new connecting cyclist and pedestrian roads. All these subprojects are part of the larger project 'Mechelen in Beweging' (Mechelen in Motion), a city programme aiming to make Mechelen station more accessible, for example by separating local and through traffic.
THV STAMechelen was a temporary cooperation between BAM Contractors, Jan De Nul nv, Besix and Franki Construct.
A masterpiece in one weekend
In total, STAMechelen realised no less than 15 new engineering structures that had to guide combined train and car traffic. In order to minimise disruption to existing traffic during the construction of certain structures, the contractors used a number of ingenious techniques.
For car traffic coming from the E19, the contractors built two bridge decks under the existing railway tracks. "In order not to interrupt rail traffic, we prefabricated the new bridge deck, which is 58 metres long and 13 metres wide, next to the railway tracks. Afterwards, we drove this bridge deck into place during one weekend, in harsh winter conditions and with snowfall, using modular platform trucks," testifies Joris Muylaert, deputy project director at STAMechelen. "We needed several preparatory weekends to drill the foundation piles for the abutments and the central pillar, after which we installed the temporary bridge decks required for the abutments. The bridge deck was then placed on top of the new abutments and pillars. We finally applied this method four times to the structures along the Brusselsesteenweg and the Leuvensesteenweg."
In order not to interrupt rail traffic, we prefabricated the new bridge deck next to the railway tracks. Afterwards, we drove this bridge deck into place during one weekend using modular platform trucks.
Deputy project director at STAMechelen-Jan De Nul Group