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The challenge

The current Antwerp Ring (R1) can no longer handle local and transit traffic. Every day, drivers sit at a standstill, which has adverse effects on Antwerp’s economy and living environment. The Oosterweel link will change that. As part of the future “De Grote Verbinding” (The Great Link) project, Oosterweel is broken down into five sub-projects that define the key features of a desirable city and region to live in, work in and visit. The first phase will concern the redevelopment of the Linkeroever, which easily connects the strategic location of Antwerp and its port to the entire region.

The solution

The Linkeroever is infamous for its daily traffic jams on the E17 and E34. Many accidents occur regularly due to the dangerous interchange with the E34 and the Linkeroever ramp on the R1. Moreover, the living environment is affected: traffic jams disrupt surrounding residential areas and the current layout leaves little room for green spaces. The region is bordered not only by the port of Antwerp, but also by a number of natural reserves that are home to protected plant and animal species such as orchids, toads, bats and swallows.


    Arcadis has been appointed by the “Rinkoniên” contractor consortium (Artes Roegiers, Artes Depret, CIT Blaton, Mobilis and Stadsbader) to conduct the engineering studies for this project, which includes the three main routes in Antwerp: E17, R1 and E34.


    It is responsible for the concept, infrastructure design and execution studies of some 80 civil works that restore mobility and road safety on the Linkeroever and allow local and transit traffic to flow smoothly again. The new roadside infrastructure enhances the living environment and creates many alternative transportation options:


    • Bridges, tunnels and retention basins (excess water collection)

    • Parallel road between the 17 Zwijndrecht and 8 Waaslandhaven-Oost entrance and exit ramps.

    • Untangling and logical rebuilding of the complex Kennedytunnel knot

    • A new entrance and exit complex for Waaslandhaven-Oost, Sint-Anna and Zwijndrecht

    • Berms and noise barriers

    • 9 km of new bike and pedestrian paths

    • Bike highway along the R1

    • Four wildlife crossings

    • Park and Ride with 1,500 parking spaces to swap the car for a tram, bus or bicycle

The impact

The Oosterweel link improves the accessibility of Antwerp and the port and links the Linkeroever, Eilandje, Merksem and the area around the Sportpaleis. Oosterweel also addresses the problem of traffic congestion, ensuring safer and smoother local and freight traffic and a better quality of life within and around Antwerp.

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