On 14 April 2023, the official inauguration of the modernisation of the Tournai crossing (Wallonia) took place. The work was carried out between 2017 and 2023 by the Service public de Wallonie (SPW), a member of the Seine-Scheldt EEIG, at a cost of €55 million, financed by the Walloon Region (60%) and the European Union (40%).
The boat stop on the Quai Taille-Pierres
The guests gathered at the Quai Taille-Pierres marina, which has been modernised and extended to welcome pleasure boaters. From there, they embarked to discover, from the river, the improvements made all along the crossing of the town to ensure the safe navigation of Va class barges (110m X 11.40m, 2,000 T). In particular they were able to admire:
-the Pont-à-Ponts, a reinforced concrete structure that was demolished and then rebuilt in a thinner metal version to widen the navigable channel underneath by removing one of the piers on the right bank;
The new Pont-à-Ponts, in a thinner metal version and a wider navigable channel
– the Pont des Trous, a historic structure dating from the medieval period and listed in 1991, will be deconstructed in 2019 and then rebuilt in the same architectural style (stone, with the 2 restored towers and 3 pointed arches), incorporating guide rails; the final result was extremely well received by visitors.
The new Pont des Trous, rebuilt in a style close to the original
– the renovation of 2.7 km of quays on both banks of the Scheldt, with a particular attention to urban integration and soft mobility. All in all, the quays, which form the heart of the city, are once again a pleasant place to live for residents and visitors alike.
The guests then disembarked at the foot of the Delwart Bridge, greeted by the Military Band, before gathering under a marquee to listen to speeches by the Mayor of the City of Tournai, Paul-Olivier Delannois, the Inspector General of the SPW, Christophe Vanmuysen, the European Coordinator for the North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor Pr. Péter Balázs and the Walloon Vice-President and Minister for Climate, Energy and Mobility, Mr Philippe Henry.
An emblematic project on the Seine-Scheldt network, the modernisation of the Tournai crossing is both an important step in the development of river transport in Europe and a feat of architecture, heritage and urban planning. The people of Tournai were not mistaken in celebrating the event all weekend long!