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Sweco studies tunnelling for Ghent Dampoort and extension of tram connections

Engineering firm Sweco was commissioned by De Werkvennootschap to study and design the tunnelling under Ghent Dampoort, including the redevelopment of the station area, the extension of tram line 4, the construction of the new tram line 7 and the complete reconstruction of six squares.

Image: © Sweco

“This large-scale project means good news for the inhabitants in and around Ghent: we are going to unravel unsafe situations and ensure a much better flow of traffic. The tunnelling under Ghent Dampoort will contribute greatly to the urban renewal around the station. Sweco has all the disciplines needed to transform Ghent Dampoort into a sustainable multimodal hub. Our urban developers, civil engineering teams and traffic specialists are joining forces and taking a close look at liveability, traffic safety and mobility. This operation goes beyond merely providing additional infrastructure; with a well-thought-out design, we are bringing people closer together, both literally and figuratively. We want to make a difference by using our Transforming Society Together vision,” says Erwin Malcorps, Managing Director Sweco Belgium.

For years, the traffic junction at Dampoort station in the north of Ghent has been one of the most dangerous points in Ghent and Flanders. In September last year, the Flemish government definitively opted for a tunnel to untangle the issue. De Werkvennootschap, a department within the Flemish government that specialises in complex infrastructure projects, was made responsible for getting the project off the ground.

Reconstruction with a major focus on safety and thorough multimodality
In the Dampoort project, the Flemish government attaches great importance to traffic safety and thorough multimodality. With the present study assignment for tunnelling, it not only wants to offer an answer to the often dangerous traffic situations in and around the Dampoort, it also shows a clear ambition to support people in switching from the car to public transport and bicycles .

This way, the Dampoort must be given the function of an urban “transferium”: a place where all modes of transport (car, train, bus, tram and bicycle) come together in a user-friendly way. The planned 11.5 km-long tram connection between Neuseplein, at the future Verapaz bridge and Sint-Denijs-Westrem, offers an answer to the long-standing demand for a direct line between the north and south of Ghent. With important stops including at the stations of Ghent Dampoort and Ghent Sint-Pieters, this will be an essential lever in the modal shift on the Ghent territory.

The study assignment, worth EUR 14.3 million (excl. VAT), was awarded to Sweco. Also included in the assignment are studies for the construction of an 11.5 km tram line, including a tunnel for the Heuvelpoort and the reconstruction of six squares, including the Stapelplein and Museumplein, in addition to the Dampoort. Based on its multidisciplinary expertise, Sweco is also responsible for the project management, accompanying studies and technical assistance, stakeholder management and project communication in cooperation with Connect, and provides support during implementation. The complete study should be finished in spring 2024. The start of the works is envisaged in 2027.

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