On Thursday 29 September, the new bicycle parking under Leuven's train station square was officially opened. With this project, BESIX is provides around 4,000 additional bicycle parking spaces in the academic city. The inauguration was attended by the Mayor of Leuven, Mohamed Ridouani, CEO of SNCB Sophie Dutordoir, Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet and alderman David Dessers.
BESIX’ second project in the train station area
The underground bicycle park is adjacent to the existing De Bond car park, whose full parking capacity has been retained. For BESIX, this bike park is a second major contribution to the cycling infrastructure around Leuven train station. In 2019, the company also delivered a bicycle path in the form of a spiral, an architectural gem that connects Leuven to Kessel-Lo borough by leading cyclists above the station.
Open construction pit
For the construction of the new bicycle park, the team had to work with an open construction pit. For this, the train station square had to be excavated in somewhat spectacular fashion to create two new floors. Besides building these floors, BESIX also moved the sewer system under the square and provided two new entrances and exits. The wide staircase near the Peace Monument was replaced by a bicycle staircase with long steps. A central stairwell was also added near the spiralling cycle path. After these major works, the team restored the square to its original state.
"A project of this size in a bustling station environment presents a number of challenges. Firstly, limited access complicates the supply of construction materials. In addition, we were working amid bustling hospitality industry, the start of one of the largest shopping streets in the country and busy commuter flows. We therefore thank the neighbourhood for their understanding during the works and we are proud to provide them with extra comfort in the form of this bicycle parking."
Ibo Perelaer, Project manager.
While digging the construction pit, the team faced high groundwater levels. To ensure that this water was not lost, a container was placed on site to collect it. The City of Leuven's green services then tapped this water to water the urban planting. A strong example of circularity!
"At BESIX, we are extremely proud that we were once again given the opportunity to leave our mark on the City of Leuven's station environment. We would therefore like to thank them and our client NMBS for their collaboration in bringing this project to a successful conclusion.”
Mark Beyst, General Manager BESIX Belgium-Luxembourg.
BESIX is a leading Belgian Group, based in Brussels and active in 25 countries and on 5 continents, in the construction, real estate development and concessions sectors. BESIX Group has been active since 1909 and its iconic realisations include the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the highest tower in the world, European Parliament buildings in Brussels and the Grand Egyptian Museum, on the plateau of the pyramids of Giza. The Group's engineering division enables BESIX to carry out complex and unique projects, especially in terms of technical and environmental aspects.