Construction works of the Verapaz Bridge start soon

Green light for construction of the Verapaz bridge, a project incorporated in the city of Ghent’s new mobility plan. Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer (AWV) intends to use the plan to improve traffic flows between the R40 and the surrounding motorways (R4, E17, E34 and E40). Construction of the Verapaz bridge will also have a positive impact on the accessibility of the new city district, the Old Docks, and its liveability.

Verapaz bridge will connect Muidelaan and Afrikalaan in Ghent

Commissioned by Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer, the City of Ghent, Farys, De Lijn and De Vlaamse Waterweg, we are working with our partners MAAT Ontwerpers and Marie-José Van Hee architecten on a study for the construction of the bridge over the Handelsdok, to connect both the Muidelaan and Afrikalaan.

Two bridge decks with truss girders

The arrival of the bridge will shift the city ring road (R40) to Afrikalaan and Koopvaardijlaan. Two bridge decks will be used to ensure a smooth traffic flow. These will be designed with truss girders to limit the construction height. Cantilevered bridge decks will be attached to the trusses, ideal for separating cyclists and pedestrians from motorised traffic. We will be using an in-situ technique for the bridge construction, and for material we have opted for reinforced post-tensioned concrete.

Reorganisation of the Handelsdok quays

The design also takes account of the redesign of the existing quays on both sides of the Handelsdok. Our intention is to create a meeting place, allowing room for greenery, with wide paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

Focus on smooth traffic flow and maximum safety

To optimise a smooth traffic flow, safety for all road users, and local residents’ quality of life, the project also focuses on the Muidelaan and Afrikalaan reconstruction.

For example, tracks will be laid in Muidelaan’s central reservation for tram line 4, connecting the Oude Dokken with Ghent Dampoort in the future. We will also be providing two traffic lanes in both directions, and installing traffic lights so that cyclists and pedestrians can cross Muidelaan safely.

The bridge will connect seamlessly with a new traffic island in Afrikalaan. Here we will be implementing traffic lights and sufficient, safe crossing points for cyclists and pedestrians. A little further on we will construct a turning point in Koopvaardijlaan, where traffic coming from Vliegtuiglaan or the Verapaz bridge can turn easily to reach the other side of Afrikalaan.

Next steps

Agentschap Wegen en Verkeer (AWV) has now been granted a permit for construction of the Verapaz bridge, with work due to start in mid-2021. Alongside the study work, Witteveen+Bos will also supervise the works. We aim to open the bridge in 2024.

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A picture of the pedestrian bridge at the Bauma 2022 Exhibition.