The southern branch of the R4 in Merelbeke had long been a missing link in the Flemish road network. This was remedied by extending the R4 outer ring road between Heerweg Noord in Gent – Zwijnaarde and Guldensporenlaan in Merelbeke.
In addition, the project provided for a number of interventions on the roads and junctions in the immediate vicinity of the R4-South. These works serve to improve the overall traffic flow and make traffic interchange smoother and safer. Cyclists also received the necessary attention thanks to a separate cycle path along the route of the R4 outer ring road, which will be separated from motorised traffic as much as possible.
The project in numbers
The project was placed on the market through a DBM + F formula (for design, construction, financing and maintenance). The temporary trade association R4-Ghent, comprising Antwerpse Bouwwerken, Besix, Heijmans Infra and Stadsbader, was responsible for the DBM part. The Belfius, Bnp Paribas Fortis and Dg Infra+ consortium provided the financing. On 7 February 2012, the project reached financial close. The total investment amounts to some 90 million euros. The construction of this missing 2.5 km stretch of ring road will improve mobility, economic development and quality of life in and around Ghent and Merelbeke. The ring road crosses the water three times: the Ring canal, the Scheldt canal and the Tijarm. Three bridges, five new roundabouts and two tunnels are needed. Cyclists will also receive special attention within the project. Bicycle traffic will be separated from motorised traffic as much as possible by the construction of 4 bicycle tunnels and 1 bicycle bridge. The ring road consists of 15 work zones that were completed in less than three years. Finally, the construction work was successfully completed in early May 2014, more than half a year ahead of the predetermined schedule.
- The Roads and Traffic Agency is buyer of the services, in particular the provision of the infrastructure.
- The temporary trade association Antwerp Construction Works, Besix, Heijmans Infra and Stadsbader is now responsible for the 30-year maintenance.