The Kennedytunnel is an important road, rail, and bicycle tunnel to the south of Antwerp, Belgium, under the Scheldt river. The road tunnel forms a part of Highway R1 – the not yet completed inner ring motorway surrounding the city. Opened to road traffic on 31 May 1969, and to rail traffic on 1 February 1970, the tunnel was named after John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States.

Daily, more than 250,000 vehicles drive through the Kennedy Tunnel.
StatusIn use
RouteR1 ring road (Belgium)
Trafficcars, trains, bicycles
Length590 m
Width14.25 m
Route map

Plans for the construction of the tunnel date back to the Fifties. Between 1945 and 1960, the volume of traffic passing through the Waaslandtunnel had quintupled – in excess of 38,000 vehicles were travelling through the tunnel per day. Because of the resulting daily congestion on both sides of the river crossing, the construction of a second crossing was deemed necessary.

In 1958 the layout for the E3 was established, and an invitation to tender was issued for a bridge or a tunnel. In 1963, Minister Georges Bohy, following the advice of his technical experts, decided in favour of a tunnel.

In effect, the Kennedytunnel consists of four parallel tunnels. Two road tunnels, 14.25 m wide, each sufficient for three lanes of traffic, run on either side of a 4 m wide bicycle tunnel. Fifteen metres below sea level there is a rail tunnel 10.5 m wide.

The road tunnel was the scene of a particularly severe fatal traffic accident in October 2006,[1] after which traffic speed was restricted to 70 km/h during working hours, rather than the higher 100 km/h limit applicable on the rest of the Antwerp Inner Ring Road. Additional metal crash barriers had been installed in the tunnel the previous year.[2]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "2 doden en 4 zwaargewonden bij ongeval in Kennedytunnel".
  2. ^ "Antwerp port mobility". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2010-07-24.

51°12′22″N 4°22′16″E / 51.206°N 4.371°E / 51.206; 4.371