Honorary chairman of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Flemish minister for Mobility Ben Weyts and EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella: all of them were eager to attend the laying of the foundation stone of the Ecoduct Groenendaal. Are you curious about the results? Then you’ll have to be patient. The wildlife crossing will only be completed at the end of 2017.
Motorways cross through the Sonian Forest in different places. Numerous inhabitants of the forest make frantic attempts to cross those motorways every day. “We have noticed that many animals fail to cross the road safely between Groenendaal and Waterloo. That’s why we are building a wildlife crossing here. The crossing for small and large animals will be 60 metres long”, says Patrick Huvenne of the Agency for Nature and Forest. The safe crossing is part of the European LIFE+ OZON project, which attempts to combat the defragmentation of the Sonian Forest.
For traffic on the Brussels ring road, the wildlife crossing will look like a concrete block. But the animals that use the crossing will not notice that they are outside the forest. “We will cover the wildlife crossing with plants that also appear in the Sonian Forest”, explains Patrick Huvenne. “A fence of two metres high and 25 km long will be built along the Brussels ring road to prevent animals from crossing the motorway.” Trees must be cut down in order to install the fence. The trees will be replaced with bushes, the ideal habitat for lots of forest inhabitants. Those plants comply with the Flemish management plan for the Sonian Forest.
Construction of the wildlife crossing started in April 2016 and will be finished by the end of 2017.