Forty thousand Brussels residents and commuters drive in both directions, through the Leopold II tunnel on a daily basis. However, the condition of the 2.5 km tunnel between the Koekelberg Basilica and Brussels’ inner ring road, the ‘Kleine Ring’, has deteriorated substantially since its construction in 1986. The tunnel was calling out for renovation in order to guarantee the safety of users.
800 km of cables, more than 200 cameras
The renovation work was awarded to the Circul consortium 2020, to which ENGIE Fabricom (one of ENGIE’s service entities) belongs. During the works, ENGIE Fabricom was supported by Besix and Jan De Nul, who were responsible for the civil engineering elements.
In order to give the Leopold II tunnel a complete facelift, ENGIE Fabricom installed over 800 km of cables to guarantee the power supply. We also supervised the modernisation of and improvements to fire safety. Finally, an audio installation for emergencies, along with over 200 cameras, is also being installed.
These cameras are being installed, managed and controlled by ENGIE Fabricom and will have a range of different functions. While some will monitor the tunnel itself, others will take a role in the management of traffic flows. Others will be used to control the low-emissions zone. A fibre-optic network will support the transmission of images in high resolution and also the radio communication.
In the summer of 2019, the teams installed the medium voltage cabins and transformers, new smoke removal systems, emergency exits, fire detection systems, lighting in the technical areas, and the central SCADA system. ENGIE Axima took care of the installation of ventilation and smoke removal systems in the tunnel.
On the electro-mechanical level, the ENGIE branches will also install LED lighting in the tunnel, at the entrances and in the emergency exits (including 17 new ones) in order to reduce power use by two-thirds. A dynamic sign system will also be installed.
A pioneer in terms of the city of tomorrow
All of the solutions that have been used in the Leopold II tunnel are encompassed within the technologies that ENGIE has created and developed in order to prepare the city for the future and make it safer, more cost-effective, better connected and more sustainable.
During the work on the Leopold II tunnel, measures were implemented to mitigate the impact on traffic and local residents. In the summers of 2018 and 2019, the tunnel was completely closed to traffic. Since 2 September 2019, ENGIE's teams have been working night shifts from Sundays to Thursdays. The tunnel can therefore remain open during the day and also on Friday and Saturday nights.
Once the work is completed, ENGIE Fabricom will be tasked with maintaining the tunnel for 25 years.