New cycling infrastructures are flourishing in Wallonia and help to improve the quality of the routes along the EuroVelo 3.
On the 27th of April 2019, the sun was out for the inauguration of three new sections of Line 38 on the RAVeL network, a network of environmentally friendly routes in Wallonia. The aim is to attract more and more cyclists, both local and travellers.
Le réseau RAVeL en Wallonie
Le RAVeL représente un réseau de plus de 1 430 km de voies vertes en Wallonie, aménagées sur des lignes de chemin de fer désaffectées et sur des chemins de halage. Réservées aux usagers non motorisés, elles permettent de se déplacer dans un environnement naturel, en toute sécurité, à l’abri du trafic. La ligne 38 du RAVeL est considérée comme une des plus anciennes et des plus mythiques routes cyclables de Wallonie. Elle relie la frontière allemande à Liège, à l’est de la région, en passant par les bocages et paysages bucoliques du Pays de Herve. Elle fait également partie des routes de l’EuroVelo 3 en Belgique.
The RAVeL network in Wallonia
The RAVeL is a more than 1,430 km long network of environmentally friendly routes in Wallonia, running along abandoned railway lines and towpaths. The routes are reserved for non-motorised road users and allow for safe travel within a natural environment, away from traffic. The RAVeL’s Line 38 is considered to be one of the oldest and most mythical cycle routes in Wallonia. It connects the German border to Liège, to the East of the region, via the Pays de Herve’s bucolic landscapes and farmland. It is also one of the EuroVelo 3 routes in Belgium.
Quality cycling facilities along the EuroVelo 3
Thanks to the 2016-2019 RAVeL investment plan of Wallonia’s Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, we can now enjoy new signposted infrastructures. The new developments were mainly intended to fill in missing links and allow cyclists to travel to new town and city centres from the existing RAVeL network by developing continuous cycle routes. This does not only come in handy for local road users, but also for cycle tourists using the EuroVelo 3. Line 38 actually forms part of this cycle route and its inception has made it much easier for cyclists to travel. The EuroVelo 3 runs from Norway to Spain over 5,000 km, but still needs a lot of investment on certain stretches across Europe. This is not the case for the 210 km stretch across Belgian territory, however, as it is considered to be one of the most developed and signposted of the entire network.
Inaugurations to kick off the summer months
Many road users in the region are breathing a sigh of relief with the end of the construction works and the start of the inaugurations. They had been looking forward for years to the construction of two new bridges that would connect the RAVeL route along the Ourthe to Chênée and Line 38 to Vaux-sous-Chèvremont. This would finally link up certain sections of the RAVeL with some of the most frequented routes in Wallonia. More than 6 million euro has been invested in Line 38. From asphalting to the construction of a new bridge near Hombourg’s old train station (Plombières) and the creation of a new asphalt track across 10 km between Herve and Thimister-Clermont (one of the most beautiful villages in Wallonia) - thanks to all these developments on Line 38, the recent inaugurations drew large crowds. And with the summer months approaching, even more cyclists are expected to take advantage of the new infrastructure.
And that isn’t all - over the next two years more asphalting has been planned on Lines 38 and 39 between Thimister-Clermont, Aubel, Plombières and Aachen for a total cost of around 2.8 million euros.
You will therefore soon be able to safely travel the 55 km that separate Liège and Aix-la-Chapelle on the RAVeL. The ultimate aim is to create a proper touristic cycle network between the Vennbahn, the Trambaan (connection between Maastricht, Vaals and Aachen), Line 38 and the Meuse at the heart of the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. This would further promote travel by bike, develop the local economy and facilitate travel for daily users.
More practical info on the RAVeLs.
More practical info on the EuroVelo3 in French.