Brussels Capital Region’s Leopold II tunnel renovation and maintenance project

Stibbe successfully assisted the Brussels Capital Region (represented by Minister Pascal Smet) in the PPP renovation of the Leopold II Tunnel (2.5 km), Belgium’s longest underpass, which has 65,000 road users daily.

Together with the press conference, a renovation and maintenance contract for the next 25 years has been signed. The Consortium CIRCUL 2020, with Jan De Nul, Besix and Engie-Fabricom, will carry out the works and assume the maintenance of the tunnel. This consortium came with the best offer after a European negotiation procedure.

The preparatory works will start in May 2018. The works will come with a series of accompanying measures for ensuring the best possible mobility.

The Leopold II tunnel was built in 1986 and connects the Basilica of Koekelberg with the inner Ring road. With its 2.5 kilometres, it is the longest and also one of the most complex traffic tunnels in Brussels. It is used on a daily basis in both directions by 40,000 residents of Brussels and commuters. The inspection rounds in 2015 and 2016 in preparation of the multi-annual tunnel renovation investment programme showed that the tunnel is in need of major renovation works. Both the water barrier, the road and the electromechanical equipment must be renewed. Part of the joints and paint has asbestos encapsulated in it, which must be removed as well. In addition, all existing emergency exits are renovated and 17 new ones are created according to European safety regulations. Finally, the tunnel will also be given a new look: both the lighting and scenography will be thoroughly renovated.

In July 2016, the Brussels Government launched a European negotiation procedure for the renovation and maintenance of the Leopold II tunnel in a private-public partnership according to the DBM-formula (Design-Build-Maintain). In this formula, the contractual renovation works are complemented with a maintenance period of 25 years. By making the contractors responsible for the maintenance of the tunnel in the subsequent period, the quality of the renovation is ensured. Five consortiums filed a bid for the contract. In the end, Circul 2020 came out best of class. The contract has a value of 462.6 million euro for the next 28 years (3 years + a 25-year maintenance period), 264.7 million euro of which will go to the renovation of the tunnel. Another 13.1 million euro will be paid to cover the tunnel maintenance costs during the works (as from the start of the works, the maintenance of the tunnel is transferred as well). The financing costs amount to 4.5 million euro. For the maintenance period of 25 years, 180.3 million euro has been budgeted. 31 million euro of the renovation cost will be withheld and be paid in parts in the course of the contract, thus giving the public authorities an extra warranty for the proper execution of the contract.

Stibbe’s multidisciplinary Infrastructure Projects team was in charge of this project. The team comprised Rony Vermeersch (picture), Bruno Lombaert, Wim Panis, Marc Fyon, Irène Mathy, Leopold Schellekens, Pascaline Dierckx, Anne-Sophie Bouvy, Olivia de Lovinfosse, Annelies Renier, Marie Baes, Linde Bevernaege.

Involved fees earner: Rony Vermeersch – Stibbe; Bruno Lombaert – Stibbe; Leopold Schellekens – Stibbe; Irène Mathy – Stibbe; Anne-Sophie Bouvy – Stibbe; Linde Bevernaege – Stibbe; Wim Panis – Stibbe; Annelies Renier – Stibbe; Marie Baes – Stibbe; Marc Fyon – Stibbe; Pascaline Dierckx – Stibbe; Olivia de Lovinfosse – Stibbe;

Law Firms: Stibbe;

Clients: Brussels Capital Region;