On 7 July 2022, Infrabel and its partners (De Lijn, the municipality of Diepenbeek, Flanders and the NMBS) officially inaugurated the new infrastructure that will replace all 7 railway crossings in Diepenbeek.
The project, with a value of 27 million euro and carried out by BESIX, BESIX Infra and TUC Rail, included the construction of a new underpass for cyclists and pedestrians at the train station, three bridges, the raising and lengthening of the train station platforms, the construction of new cycle paths and various roadworks. A new bicycle and car parking area was also built.
This was the largest project in Belgium for the removal of railway crossings, aiming to improve safety, mobility and the quality of life of local residents.
Mark Beyst, General Manager of BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg: "This was a demanding project in terms of planning and methods. Throughout the project, we were able to count on good cooperation with TUC Rail and with our client Infrabel and its partners, including the city council and public transport companies De Lijn and NMBS. This enabled us to complete the project on time and in accordance with the requirements of Infrabel, whom we thank for their trust."
The works were carried out according to the original schedule. The site could count on the particular expertise of BESIX and BESIX Infra in terms of construction methods. The teams did their utmost to ensure that the railway line alongside the site was affected as little as possible by the works.
For example, two of the three bridges were built on scaffolding above the tracks, while the tracks remained in use. As soon as the bridge decks were ready, they were jacked onto the abutments and pillars of the bridge. The teams also worked creatively to build the new underpass for cyclists and pedestrians. The 400-tonne tunnel structure (12 metres long, 10 metres wide and 3 metres high) was built next to the final location and, when completed in October 2020, was literally pushed under the tracks using hydraulic jacks. By proceeding in this way, train traffic only had to be halted for 7 weekends out of a project period of 2.5 years.
BESIX and BESIX Infra wish to thank their project teams for their efforts and congratulate them on their achievements on this fantastic project. Finally, we would also like to thank the local residents for their understanding, as works of this magnitude inevitably imply some level of nuisance. We hope they can now enjoy a safer living environment!