The Sint Annatunnel in Antwerp (Belgium) is an 86 year-old pedestrian and cycling tunnel under the Scheldt river, connecting the city centre to the west-bank, called left bank in Antwerp. The tunnel is simply referred to as the Voetgangerstunnel, (the Pedestrian Tunnel). That is because the tunnel was part of a larger plan to give all types of traffic a tunnel to reach the left bank. The other tunnel, the Waaslandtunnel for motorised traffic, was built further to the north. Both tunnels were opened on the same day in 1933.
The lift to access the tunnel is large enough for 40 pedestrians, but it can also hold a lot of people with their bicycles.
The Sint Annatunnel feels like the elder sister of the Rotterdam Maastunnel, which I showed already quite some years ago on my blog. The Maastunnel was opened 9 years later. To access the tunnels in both Antwerp and Rotterdam on foot or with your bicycle, there are wooden escalators that look, sound and smell alike. This makes the atmosphere in both tunnels very similar. However, most of the similarities end there. The Maastunnel has a separate tube for walking and one for cycling. The Sint Annatunnel only has one shared tube for walking and cycling. From the modernist tunnel building on ground level there are two wooden escalators and a huge lift to go down to the tunnel entrance. The Antwerp tunnel was dug at a depth of 31 metres below the water level in the clay of the river bed. The city of Antwerp decided to separate the tunnels for motorised traffic and the one for walking and cycling because people would have had to make a long detour had the tunnel for motorised traffic been combined with the one for walking and cycling. The current location of the Sint Annatunnel is perfect to reach the left bank from the Antwerp city centre. For that same reason (being in the historic city centre) it would not have been a good location for a tunnel for motorised traffic. That tunnel was therefore built almost 1 kilometre to the north. The pedestrian tunnel under the river is 572 metres long between the escalators.
The escalators and the lift end at the same location. It is but a small space where the tunnel tube starts almost right away.