Oosterweel island

The Oosterweel island in Antwerp will undergo comprehensive redevelopment within a few years. The structure will be updated and the traffic flows will be optimised, making the Oosterweel island safer and more efficient for traffic.

Initiator(s)

Port of Antwerp-Bruges

Duration

15/11/2021 - 30/06/2031

Location

Oosterweel island

Why?

The Wilmarsdonk and Oosterweel bridges are in need of replacement. At the same time, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is improving traffic flow and road safety on the main axes of Oosterweel island with new traffic infrastructure.

Impact on companies

We will personally contact all the concessionaires and stakeholders directly involved.

Treinrit met een goederentrein van Antwerpen naar Aken. Via het bedrijf Crossrail, met machinist Willem Ysenbaardt.

What?

Two railway bridges

Two mobile bridges for rail traffic will replace the Wilmarsdonk bridge. During the construction of the Oosterweel bridge, these will divert road traffic. In addition to the railroad, there will also be some new roadways and a new control building. The radar tower will be relocated. To minimise disruption to inland navigation, these bridges will only be lowered for train passage.

New route for rail track

Rail traffic will receive a new line north of Wilmardonksteenweg with the renovation and construction of two tracks from the Noorderlaan bridge to Oosterweelsteenweg. Immediately south of the Wilmarsdonk bridges, the tracks will diverge: one to the east across the Vollers site and one connecting to the existing rail network via an underpass under the Oosterweelsteenweg embankment.

Rail and road traffic separated

  • The existing Oosterweelsteenweg will remain the main axis for road traffic and will gain some new cycle paths.
  • Construction of a new connecting road between Oosterweelsteenweg and Schenkeldijk.
  • Road and drainage works in Wilmarsdonksteenweg, Oosterweelsteenweg to Noordkasteel bridges and connections to side streets. 
  • The intersections of rail with road traffic on the north side of the island will disappear. The rail crossings at the Noordkasteel bridges and the former Waterway Police will remain unchanged for now.
  • The Noordkasteel bridges will be maintained in their current state. Both bridges will remain accessible to rail and road traffic.

Fixed bridge for road traffic, smooth passage for inland navigation

The Oosterweel bridge will be a raised, fixed overpass bridge with new lanes and cycle paths for road traffic. The height of the bridge should allow barges with high loads to pass through without any issues.

 

The embankment on the northern side will cross the existing route path of Oosterweelsteenweg between the Oosterweel bridge and Vosseschijnstraat.

 

The embankment on the southern side of the bridge will cross the existing route path of the existing Oosterweelsteenweg between the Oosterweel bridge and Wilmarsdonksteenweg. The connections from Vrieskaai and Schenkeldijk to Oosterweelsteenweg will disappear. They will be replaced by a new connection to the eastern part of the island in the extension of Wilmarsdonksteenweg.

Preliminary route

During the 2020-2021 period, we tested a total of 22 potential improvement scenarios against a reference scenario, with specimens of the Wilmarsdonk and Oosterweel bridges similar to those as they exist today. Following a comparison in terms of inconvenience and waiting times for road traffic, rail traffic and inland navigation, safety and budget, we established a preferred scenario. In late 2021, in collaboration with engineering consultancy Sweco and Infrabel, we began the detailed development of this preferred scenario.



As a result of the current economic conditions, by mid-2022 it was apparent that the necessary investments had risen very much.



Implementation no longer seemed feasible or socially acceptable. In the summer of 2022, we therefore revisited the scope and adjusted the starting points for further development.

 

From October 2022 to the end of 2024, we will continue the detailed study, the permit process and the tendering process with a view to sustainability. 



The award process will run from late 2024 to December 2025. At the same time, the utility companies will already be carrying out preparatory works. The start of the actual redevelopment of the Oosterweel island is to be planned from March 2026. The implementation period is currently estimated at about 5 to 6 years.

Approach and phases

  1. The Wilmarsdonk Bridges and Wilmarsdonksteenweg to the north and south of the Wilmarsdonk Bridges and railways are up first. At that time, all road and rail traffic will cross the existing Oosterweel Bridge. 
  2. When this area is finished, all road and rail traffic will be converted to Wilmarsdonksteenweg and the Wilmarsdonk Bridges.
  3. The Oosterweel Bridge and new approach ramps are being addressed. 
  4. The Oosterweelsteenweg area to the south of Wilmarsdonksteenweg to the north side of the Noordkasteel Bridges will be renovated.

Contact point

Do you have any work-related questions, comments or complaints? Please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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