The Flemish Roads and Traffic Agency will build a new bicycle bridge over the Haachtsesteenweg (N21) in Steenokkerzeel from Wednesday 15 September 2021. “The bicycle bridge that is part of the F214 bicycle highway will provide a better connection between the centre of Vilvoorde and Brucargo, the cargo area of Brussels Airport. With this joint investment of 1.8 million euros we want to give (e-) bike commuting an extra boost", says Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters. The bridge will be built in collaboration with Brussels Airport, which is making land available for the bicycle bridge, and with financial support from the European Union.
Many employees commute between Vilvoorde and Brucargo every day. But with the bike the options are limited. Whether you go via the Schaarbeeklei (N1) or the Woluwelaan (R22), you will be driving next to the busy car traffic. “To encourage employees to cycle more often, the Flemish government is investing in this new connection. The F214 bicycle highway is already there, but with a new bicycle bridge over the Haachtstesteenweg you can cycle directly to Brucargo from spring 2022, without having to cross car traffic", explains Minister Peeters.
“Brussels Airport wants to be a true intermodal hub, where the different modes of transport intersect: car, train, tram, bus and bicycle,” says Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company. “After the inauguration a few months ago of the connection between the F3 Brussels-Leuven bicycle highway and the passenger zone of Brussels Airport, the cargo zone of our airport will shortly be provided with a connection to the F214 bicycle highway and the adjacent bicycle paths. This way, anyone who works in the cargo zone can easily come to work by bike.”
The Roads and Traffic Agency can use the grounds of Brussels Airport for the construction of the new bicycle bridge. These areas are necessary to build the embankments - the raised slopes on which the bridge is supported. The bridge will be located quite a bit above the Haachtsesteenweg, since sufficient free space is needed for freight traffic under the bridge.
Brussels Airport is not only making land available, the airport operator is also investing around 200,000 euros in the bicycle bridge. The European Union is contributing 700,000 euros from the ERDF fund (the European Regional Development Fund). From Flanders, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters is investing approximately 900,000 euros. A joint investment of 1.9 million euros.
The bicycle bridge itself, a 40-meter long steel construction, is currently being put together in a workshop. A lot of things still have to be done on the site before the bridge can be lifted over the Haachtsesteenweg with large cranes. On Wednesday 15 September, the contractor will start with the landscaping works, after which he will supply soil to raise the slope next to the road. The cycle paths that connect to the new bridge will then be constructed. According to the planning, the bridge will be ready for bicycles by spring 2022.
During the works, the cycle path that runs parallel to the Haachtsesteenweg will be closed to cyclists. Cyclists to and from Melsbroek will follow a short detour via Steenwagenstraat until the end of the works. The bicycle highways will remain accessible. Car traffic on Haachtsestesteenweg will experience little disruption as a result of the works. Only when the bridge itself is installed - in the course of next spring - will the regional road have to be closed for a few hours.