The Priory Eco-recreaduct
A new link in the 'Zoniënwoud': The Priory eco-recreaduct
In future, walkers and cyclists will be able to use The Priory eco-recreaduct to go over the Ring from Groenendaal station to the Bosmuseum (Forest Museum Jan Van Ruusbroec) on foot or by bike via the improved and widened recreational connection. This renewed link allows us to provide combi-modal access to the planned welcome gate to the 'Zoniënwoud'. It will be safe and pleasant for the soft road user, while at the same time a planned wildlife passage will offer plants and small animals an extra opportunity to enlarge their habitat.
Working on the Ring connects
Although the Ring is often still an inconvenient barrier these days, the aim of Flemish Government's De Werkvennootschap is to reconnect areas inside and outside the Ring through the Working on the Ring program. These projects will bring fragmented natural areas together again and make recreational points of interest like the 'Zoniënwoud' more accessible. It is also an important goal of Working on the Ring.
A study on the section of the Ring to the east of Brussels is currently underway. It will examine possible solutions for the four major traffic intersections. A few ‘quick wins’ have already been selected – these are projects that can be completed relatively rapidly, and that have outcomes benefitting the mobility and liveability of the surrounding area. The Priory eco-recreaduct is one of these wins.
Welcome gate to the 'Zoniënwoud'
The Flemish Government’s Agentschap Natuur en Bos (Agency for Nature and Forests) wants to develop Groenendaal into one of the central hubs where people can start and end their trips to the 'Zoniënwoud'. There is currently a link between the station and the Bosmuseum, but the present welcome gate is already too small to accommodate the connection’s user numbers. Taking into account the various initiatives in the neighbourhood, the pressure on this existing connection will only increase. We will solve this problem by building the eco-recreaduct. In this way, the 'Zoniënwoud' will be able to further develop in terms of its ecology, recreational offering and cultural history.
Work on The Priory eco-recreaduct will start in mid-2021 and will take about a year and a half.
Embedded in its surroundings
Continuity and integration are central in the design of the eco-recreaduct. For the benefit of both its (human and animal) users as well as for the traffic passing underneath it, the eco-recreaduct has been designed so that it fits seamlessly into the existing environment.
That is why we use materials with a natural look such as wood, weatherproof steel and natural stone. This is so that the bridge’s users will not have crossing the Ring as their primary experience, but will instead enjoy a pleasant walk in nature.
What to expect during the works?
We will try to limit disruption as much as possible. We will try to limit disruption on the Ring to evening hours. We will try to never completely close off the Ring in the course of the works.
The Groenendaal intersection at the eco-recreaduct will remain accessible with narrow lanes during all phases of the works. The current bicycle bridge on the southern side of the railway bridge will be demolished. An alternative route will be laid out in anticipation of the new cycle link. Access to the Bosuseum on the Tumulidreef side will remain open for the duration.
Safe cycling in the surrounding area
Within the Working on the Ring program, a new bicycle highway along the Terhulpsesteenweg, the F205, will be constructed. This bicycle highway will provide a pleasant and direct cycle link between Hoeilaart and Brussels. Work is scheduled to start in 2022. In order to guarantee traffic flow on the bicycle highway, it will cross the Ring to the north of the railway line. This ensures that the route will not come into conflict with the recreational connection of the eco-recreaduct on the other side of the railway line. A new bicycle and pedestrian tunnel will be built between Groenendaal station and the new eco-recreaduct. This will link the bicycle highway to the Terhulpensesteenweg.