Besides the investments in public transport, cycle highways and liveability in the wider area around the Ring Road, the Work on the Ring Road programme also includes the redevelopment of the Brussels Ring Road itself. There too, investments are planned in liveability, green connections, bicycle connections and public transport. To achieve that, a whole raft of procedures must be gone through. Alternatives are currently being investigated.
For the redevelopment of the Ring Road there is an integrated planning process, in order to change the designated land use based on a new land-use implementation plan (ruimtelijk uitvoeringsplan, RUP). In this planning process we are formulating a number of planning objectives around traffic safety and flow, liveability, multi-modal accessibility and integration into the landscape. To achieve these objectives, a basic plan has been drawn up. For the redevelopment of the Ring Road, this involves a preliminary design in which through and local traffic are separated, with three lanes for through traffic and two lanes for local traffic in each direction. This preliminary design also includes landscape connections (ecoducts) over the Ring road, bicycle connections over and under the road, improvements to the green-blue network, etc. This kind of integrated planning process requires input from residents, municipalities, interest groups and all other stakeholders. In June and July 2018, a public consultation was held. On the basis of all the inputs that were collected and studied, a number of alternatives to the basic plan were formulated, which provide suggestions for other ways of achieving the plan’s objectives. This may involve a differing number of lanes, potential changes to the length profile (how high or low the Ring Road is compared to its surroundings), options for putting a roof over the road, and the number of entrances to and exits from the road, as well as their location.
All alternatives are being studied
Currently, all the alternatives are being further developed and studied in terms of technical feasibility. This will be put down on paper in a scoping report. Subsequently, all alternatives will be examined in an independent environmental impact report (EIR). This EIR will look at the possible consequences of certain activities or interventions for people and the environment.
Furthermore, all the alternatives will be assessed in terms of social costs and benefits, using a social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA). So this is not only about financial economic benefits, but also social benefits such as liveability, air quality, noise pollution, etc. Both the EIR and SCBA will be ready around the summer of 2019. Based on these two studies, the Flemish Government will define a draft regional land-use implementation plan (ontwerp-GRUP), in line with the preferred alternative. This draft plan will subsequently be presented to citizens in a public study.