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New Mons station is so delayed that temporary structures need replacing

15:05 13/10/2021

A major upgrade of Mons railway station, which is 10 times over budget, has dragged on for so long that the temporary structures put in place during the works need renovating themselves.

The latest development has parallels with Brussels' Justice Palace, where the 34-year-old scaffolding has also needed renovating because of its age.

Users of the station are concerned that the temporary metal ramps connecting each platform with the footbridge, in place since the former station was demolished in 2013, are making a creaking noise when walked upon. The surface is also slippery in wet weather.

The ramps are due to be replaced at the end of this month. As for the permanent new station, the SNCB's latest estimate is that it will be ready in 2023. This is eight years too late, as it was intended to welcome an influx of visitors for the 2015 European Capital of Culture.

The SNCB first held an architectural competition in 2006, initially to build just a new footbridge and car park at a cost of €37 million. The winner was world-renowned architect and engineer Santiago Calatrav, who designed Ground Zero station in New York and, closer to home, Liège-Guillemins.

With each successive delay, costs have exploded. The station is now almost 10 times over budget, at €324 million.

MPs recently voted in favour of Belgium's Court of Auditors opening an investigation into what went so wrong. Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet said: "Mons station was a choice of the past. I will not allow such decisions to be repeated in the future."

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Written by The Bulletin



Plus ça change....

Oct 14, 2021 11:19