Belgium – Campine region : a satisfied crowd at the inauguration of the new by-pass road Geel-Kasterlee

On Sunday 23 February 2014, after two years of intensive work, the new by-pass road “N19g” was inaugurated in the town of Kasterlee.  The Flemish Agency for Roads and Traffic is involved since end 2011 in the realisation of the project “North-South Campine”, consisting of two subprojects.  On one hand there is the construction of a fly-over, composed of an integral bridge and a cable-stayed bridge, two large roundabouts and new access- and exit roads for the motorway E131.  On the other hand there is the link road between Geel and Kasterlee which is about 7 km long including a 500 m long tunnel passing under the environmentally protected area the “Hoge Mouw”.

The official inauguration was led by Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters and Minister of Public Works Hilde Crevits in the presence of about 5000 local people.  Most of them participated in the jogging or walking over a part of the new highway and in the surrounding woods.  The local population is very satisfied with the construction of this “missing link” which will keep the traffic out of the town centres of Kasterlee and Geel-Ten Aard.  For the road users this means in the first place a faster and safer connection.

The work was carried out by “Via Kempen”, an association of the contractors Jan De Nul, Aswebo and Kumpen, within the framework of a public-private partnership with the Flemish authorities.  This means the contractors' association was in charge of the design choices and the construction.  Taking into account the period of 30 years that they'll be responsible for management and maintenance of this infrastructure, their choice went to durable solutions.  A continuously reinforced concrete pavement was opted for over almost the entire length.  In the areas where environmental noise had to be reduced, a double layered concrete pavement was built with a top layer of low-noise fine exposed aggregate concrete.  For the safety barriers, a concrete solution was chosen as well with the in situ cast Step-profile.  Obviously, the concrete pavement was continued in the tunnel where the benefits of a light coloured and fire resistant road surface have their importance.  Even though it is a tunnel on a regional road network, it was built entirely conform to the related European directives.

Policy makers, contractors and population all have their reasons for great contentment with the putting into service of this durable, environmentally conscious and societally justified by-pass road.

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