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Renovation of Leopold II tunnel cost much more than first thought

Illustration picture shows the Leopold II road tunnel, in Brussels, Tuesday 01 September 2020. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
06:10 17/05/2022

The renovation and maintenance of the Leopold II tunnel in Brussels, the longest car tunnel in the country, cost around half a million euros more than expected, Bruzz reports. The work on the tunnel, which will be renamed after Belgian actress and singer Annie Cordy from 22 May, was estimated to cost €462 million but according to Brussels Mobility the final bill was around €512 million.

The original figure was set when plans were drawn up for the renovation of the Leopold II tunnel four years ago. This included complete renovation plus the cost of the maintenance of the tunnel for the next 25 years. The repairs had been deemed urgent because the tunnel was in a very bad condition, resulting in falling debris, among other things.

After the work was completed in February, Brussels Mobility began carrying out an assessment of the project and have now revealed that the price tag is ultimately a lot more expensive.

"As with any major project, there were a number of unforeseen issues," explains a spokesperson for Brussels Mobility. "For example, a 100-metre stretch of sewer had to be moved to make a new emergency exit possible." There were also leaks from a sewage system at the level of the tunnel ceiling coming from the Simonis metro station.

Four planned emergency exits in Parc Elisabeth in Koekelberg also had to be redesigned, resulting in an additional cost. Finally, after analyses of the concrete, it turned out that a larger surface area than first thought needed cathodic protection, a technique which protects against corrosion.

The tunnel is 2,600 metres long and around 60,000 vehicles pass through it every day. During the renovation, the road surface was rebuilt, 17 new emergency exits were installed, the tunnel received completely new technical installations and the structure of the tunnel was renovated.

Written by Nick Amies