A new elevated section of the F1 cycle highway next to the Antwerp-Berchem train station bypasses two crossings with traffic lights, enabling faster and more comfortable travel into the centre of the city.
The 700-meter long elevated section of the F1 cycle highway next to the Antwerp Berchem train station is a result of co-operation between the city of Antwerp, province Antwerp, Flemish Agency for Road and Traffic (AWV) and National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS). The construction works included:
- a cycling bridge next to railroad bridge over Binnensingel (R10 road);
- a short section of cycling path on top of railroad embankment;
- a cycling bridge connecting the path on the embankment to Posthofbrug – existing bridge over the ring road (E19/E34 motorway) and another railroad line (to Antwerpen Zuid);
- upgrade of cycle lane on the eastern side of Posthofbrug to bidirectional cycling path.
On the northern end, the bridge over Binnensingel connects to the 2nd floor of bicycle parking (constructed in 2013–2014), with an existing ramp farther towards the city centre.
After the works started, the waterproof layer (between the structure and the pavement) on Posthofbrug was found out to be in bad condition and needed to be restored, which caused an unforeseen delay. The bridge was finally opened in the end of April 2018.
The new elevated route lets cyclists bypass two junctions with traffic lights:
- one of the new bridges allows a grade-separated crossing of Binnensingel;
- the ramp from the bicycle parking towards the city centre passes over Uitbreidingstraat (tunnel for busses under the train station).
On top of that, the upgrade of the eastern cycle lane on Posthofbrug to bidirectional cycle path reduces the need of crossing to the western side of the bridge in the outbound direction. Both southwards (along Roderveldlaan) and northwards (along Stanleystraat) the cycle highway is on the eastern side of the streets. Depending on the cyclist’s destination and route, the upgrade lets the cyclist bypass 1-2 additional traffic lights in the outbound direction.
Reducing elevation change
Elevation changes are often an argument against grade-separated crossings for cyclists, as climbing significantly increases the energy expenditure during cycling. But in this case the new bridges actually reduce the amount of up-and-downs along the way, because the elevation of existing crossings with Binnensingel and Uitbreidingstraat is lower than Posthofbrug or further route along Stanleystraat. After the climb to Posthofbrug the cyclists will just stay on elevated route for 700 m until after the station.
Visualisation of the new elevated section. Bicycle parking next to the Antwerpen Berchem train station in the top left corner, Posthofbrug in bottom right). Credit: Provincie Antwerpen.
F1 route before (blue) and after (red) the reconstruction. Background © OpenStreetMap contributors.
Construction of the cycling bridge connecting the new path on the railroad embankment to Posthofbrug (in the back).
View of the cycle parking from the F1 cycle highway (bridge over Uitbreidingstraat). Station platform visible on the left side.
Inbound cycle lane on Posthofbrug before reconstruction.
The same section now, upgraded to bidirectional cycle path at the expense of parking places
The new bridge over Binnensingel next to rail bridge (left) allows cyclists to bypass traffic lights on a major crossing (right) and reduce the number of interruptions on the cycle highway.
The bridge over Uitbreidingstraat was used as a ramp to access 2nd floor of the cycle parking next to the Antwerpen Berchem station. Now it is also a part of the F1 cycle highway, allowing to bypass another crossing with traffic lights.