28 January 2016 | Brussels, Belgium

Last week, the Vice-President of the Walloon Government and Minister for Public Works, Traffic Safety and Waterways, presented the Walloon Government’s ambitious Infrastructure Plan for 2016-2019.

This plan, endowed with unprecedented budgetary resources of € 640 million is articulated around four axes:
– The continued rehabilitation of highways (€ 128 million);
– Renovation and safety for the secondary road network (€ 347.5 million) – i.e. 54% of the whole budget
– The development of “Roads of Employment” (€ 89.5 million);
– Investments in Inland waterways (€ 75 million).

The Infrastructure Plan is the result of collaboration and concerted methodology with the PricewaterhouseCoopers consulting firm, commissioned to study the major infrastructure challenges in Wallonia and socio-economic gains associated with its maintenance and its strategic development.

It deploys a strategy of investment in order to meet a selection of highest priority structuring needs for Wallonia in terms of rehabilitation, security, mobility and sustainable economic development.

Thanks to this unprecedented budget and a clear control and time setting, this plan is estimated to generate between € 418 and € 624 million of added value and contribute to the creation of between 5800 and 8300 new jobs.

Needs are substantial and resources are limited. Therefore, it was imperative to develop a strong methodological approach to identify priority projects with maximum relevance and transparency. This was the sine qua non for deploying the strategic vision aiming at the socio-economic development of Wallonia.

Different strategic directions were established, among which:

  • Devoted resources for the rehabilitation of surfaces and bridges (with a special investment for rehabilitation of bridges with critical conditions)
  • Sufficient means for guaranteeing safe road sections and urban crossings
  • Strengthen complementarity between transport modes
  • Integrate roads into their environment

This plan required a significant inventory of the Walloon road network; this was done through the “GPS” Plan (Gestion des Projets Routiers – Management of Road Projects). This plan listed all the requirements and weighed them according to different criteria.

The Plan will be implemented with the highest quality standards and a continuous quality control will be applied through the whole process (from first sketches to the final work control).

The original budget of € 320 million, which was planned to be financed by the kilometer levy for trucks over 3.5 tonnes (implemented as from April 2016), has doubled to reach € 640 million, in order to respond more relevant and effective needs expressed. The extent of such an investment will not only enable the modernisation of the Walloon road and river infrastructure, but will also foster the socio-economic development of the region.

Information can be found on  http://www.n931.be/images/Pdf/Documents/PLan-infrastructure-2016_2019.pdf