River Lys will be EU shipping axis
23 November 2007, BRUSSELS - The European Commission plans to earmark EUR 420 million for the expansion of the inland waterway connections between the Seine and the Scheldt Rivers. This is an upgrade for the River Lys, which will be able to manage ships of up to 4,500 tonnes.
23 November 2007
BRUSSELS - The European Commission plans to earmark EUR 420 million for the expansion of the inland waterway connections between the Seine and the Scheldt Rivers. This is an upgrade for the River Lys, which will be able to manage ships of up to 4,500 tonnes.
The European Union had a total budget of EUR 5 billion for infrastructure projects for the years 2007-2013. 30 projects were chosen to fund. The Seine-Scheldt waterway project is getting EUR 420 in order to launch a project based on cross-border cooperation between Belgium and France.
Between Ghent and the French border, the River Lys will be deepened by 4.5 metres and the bridges will be raised to 7 metres.
On the French side, a new canal will be dug between Compiègne and Cambrai, creating a direct connection between the Rivers Seine and Scheldt.
The work on the project will begin in 2009 and is expected to be finished by 2016. This will open the route between Deulemont in France and Terneuzen in the Netherlands for ships of up to 4,500 tonnes.
Flemish Environment Minister Hilde Crevits (Flemish Christian democrat of CD&V) is delighted with the news.
"This will boost inland navigation as a good feasible alternative to transportation over the roads.
The European funds allow us to realise this ambitious project," says Ms. Crevits.
The European Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot of France, received 221 project proposals from the entire European Union, with a total price tag of EUR 11 billion. A significant effort was made to take environment reports into consideration. Sustainable and environmentally-friendly projects were given priority.
Apart from the Seine-Scheldt connection, almost EUR 200 million has been earmarked for support of the 'Rhine/Meuse-Main-Danube' waterway.
This includes the important section between Vienna and Bratislava for studies and works on the Danube, as well as studies on the Straubing-Vilshofen section to explore new solutions for this river bottleneck.
Support of inland waterways accounts for 11.2 percent of the total budget.
The lion’s share of the budget, some 75 percent, is for railway projects. The Commission proposes to make almost EUR 4 billion available for various priority projects regarding railway axes.
High Speed Rail connections will considerably expand the EU HST network. A High Speed Rail connection is also proposed between Brussels and Strasbourg (EUR 30 million for works on the Belgian side).
The plans must still be approved by the EU member states. The European Parliament has an advisory role.
[Copyright Flanders news 2007]
Subject: Belgian news