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Traffic jams and parking bans: Brussels prepares for Biden’s arrival
US President Joe Biden is arriving in Brussels on Wednesday evening and planned security measures will impact traffic and mobility in the Belgian capital.
Biden is attending a Nato, EU and G7 summit that will take place in Brussels on Thursday, Bruzz reports.
While Biden is not the only head of state coming, he brings with him the most security requirements – from his landing at Melsbroek military airport at Zaventem where departing flights will be halted for half an hour – to his overnight stay in the US Embassy in the Royal Park, where a security perimeter will be set up on Wednesday afternoon.
Most of his staff will stay at The Hotel a little further down the road in Boulevard de Waterloo, which will be cordoned off by another security perimeter and significant traffic disruption is expected.
Security measures in Nato and European Quarter
There will also be security perimeters around the Nato site in Haren and the European quarter, though these zones won’t be closed off until Thursday morning.
No vehicles will be allowed to remain in those zones, including bicycles and scooters. Traffic is also banned, including public transport, which is why STIB recommends taking the metro, as bus and tram services will be affected.
Restaurants and businesses located within the security perimeter will have to place their terrace furniture indoors, garbage bags won’t be allowed on public roads and windows of buildings must be closed at all times.
Het Laatste Nieuws and Het Nieuwsblad reported that rubbish bins and sewer covers will be sealed once parts of the sewer network are thoroughly inspected, but Brussels Capital Ixelles police could not confirm this.
Only residents and officials will be allowed to enter those zones after showing their identity cards.
Road closures and traffic measures
There will be temporary traffic closures wherever Biden and the other heads of state travel, including on the Ring 0, the E40 between Sterrebeek and the Reyers intersection, Rue de la Loi, Rue Belliard, Boulevard de Waterloo, Avenue de la Toison d’Or and the inner Brussels ring above ground.
Several tunnels in the capital will also be closed to traffic and police advise people to avoid using their car in Brussels.
An estimated 2,000 police officers will be protecting the president and his entourage, including a motorcade, police dogs, helicopter pilots and snipers.
Police will be deploying new drone technology in their security operations, such as a jammer and a device that can launch a net to intercept drones.
Biden will travel to Poland on Friday, whereupon mobility in Brussels will return to normal.
Photo: King Philippe waiting for US president Joe Biden ahead of audience at Royal Palace in June 2021 © Belga/Benoît Doppagne