€25m per kilometre is the cost of the direct cycle link between Esch-sur-Alzette and Belval, which is due to be inaugurated the day before Christmas Eve. A gift for cyclists that is worth its weight in gold, or rather metal and concrete, since €32.3m of the €47.5m dedicated to the project has paid for a 1.2 km long footbridge.
This “VëloDukt” is the longest cycle bridge in Europe, according to the ministry of mobility and public works, which is in charge of the project. It is a step in the construction of an express bicycle path between the capital and the university campus of Belval.
A tunnel before the footbridge
The construction for pedestrians and cyclists starts at rue Henry Bessemer, crosses the boulevard Prince Henri and runs along the garages in rue An der Schmelz, before passing under the ArcelorMittal railway through a tunnel. This 530-metre section is budgeted at €4.85m.
Next is the footbridge along the ArcelorMittal site. A visual screen 320 metres long and 7.5 metres high is also planned to prevent a direct view of the steelworks from the footbridge. At the end of the bridge, users can use either a lift, stairs to the end of Rock'n Roll Avenue, or ramps on an intermediate platform.
The works also include the rerouting of gas, oxygen and nitrogen pipes at a cost of €870,000, as well as landscaping on 1.2 hectares for green spaces and rest areas.
Initially planned at €34.5m in 2020, the budget was raised to €47.5m in a bill tabled at the beginning of October by François Bausch (déi Gréng), minister for mobility and public works.
It says the budget increase is linked to the cost of construction, but also to additional work, including foundations linked to “geological and geotechnical constraints specific to the site, which could not be foreseen in advance.”
“The cycle bridge is located in a relatively complex construction zone, taking into account technical and geological requirements,” added the office of the minister for mobility. It points out that the construction is 7.5 metres above the ground and therefore requires special safety requirements, not to mention the fact that it is surrounded by a steelworks and railway tracks.
The inauguration originally scheduled for 6 December has been postponed to 23 December. However, according to the bill, the project will only be truly completed by 2025. The ministry of mobility specifies that there will still be work to be done after the inauguration, such as the ramps adapted to people with reduced mobility, the lift and the stairs expected on the Belval side. The section is part of the PC8 route linking Tétange to Belvaux.
Luxembourg aims to have 950 km of cycle paths once its network has been fully extended. It currently has 600 km. Last June, the first sod was turned on the Clervaux-Troisvierges section (6 km) of the PC21. Last year, the Wiltz-Kautenbach axis (4.9 km) of the PC20 was inaugurated at a cost of €1.3m, as was the Mersch-Schoenfels link (3.1 km) on the PC14 at a cost of €2.16m.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.