The Motorway E40 (Formerly E5) from Brussels to Liège

Paper by CAESTECKER from ISCR 10th 2006 Brussels Belgium

On 13 December 1967, the “E5” Partnership was established in Belgium with the objective of constructing the Brussels-Liège motorway. This was the missing piece in Belgium of the E5 European route, which extends from London over Calais-Jabbeke, Brussels, Liège, Cologne, Frankfurt and Vienna to Ankara. Later, the name E5 was changed into E40. The works officially started on 3 March 1969. Less than four years later, on 11 December 1972, the Brussels-Liège motorway was entirely opened to traffic. The total length of the stretch of road is 91.5 km. The width of the platform, meant for 2 times 3 traffic lanes of 3.75 m, measures 40 m. The road section counts 3 interchanges, 17 access constructions and 113 viaducts. Except for the connection to the Brussels ring road, the complete road surface consists of 20 cm thick continuously reinforced concrete on a 6 cm thick interlayer of asphalt and a 20 cm thick foundation of lean concrete. This kind of surfacing was borrowed from the USA and was not yet widely used in Belgium at that moment. Traffic intensity on the national road between Brussels and Louvain – the busiest part – amounted to about 25,000 vehicles in 1965 and 32,500 in 1970. The E40 motorway has been in service for 34 years now. Traffic intensity between Brussels and Louvain amounted to 112,000 vehicles per day in 2000, 14% of which was heavy traffic. The only maintenance during the first thirty years consisted of replacing the joint fillings at the slip roads. In the meantime, some parts have been recovered with a layer of asphalt, mainly because of noise nuisance, which was due to the transversely grooved surface. This upper layer provides the CRC surface with extra protection against water infiltration. As the road structure is still in good condition, no structural maintenance or renewal is planned yet. It is to be expected that this motorway will have a life span of 40 to 50 years.

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