Our integral responsibility within the project encouraged us to come up with creative solutions. The motorway was widened to have five lanes in each direction and an alternating lane, and we have built the Gaasperdammertunnel, the longest land tunnel in the Netherlands. The tunnel spans 3 kilometres of the route and includes on and off-ramps. It is the first tunnel that was built following the National Tunnel Standards in the Netherlands and is demonstrably safe and reliable. In addition, the tunnel now ensures a better traffic flow, cleaner air and less traffic noise in the surrounding residential areas.
The project is a digital piece of art. About fifty technical systems in the tunnel are designed to monitor and interpret tens of thousands of signals to make proper and safe traffic decisions. However, this tunnel’s special feature is that it can behave autonomously. In some cases, it can execute predefined decisions based on signals, which support the road traffic controller to take speed-limiting measures or even close the tunnel.
Given that 87,000 people live close to the project, we immediately researched how to reduce the impact on the environment as much as possible. This resulted in pile drivers being equipped with noise-reducing sheeting, the use of vibration-free foundation techniques, asphalted construction roads to reduce dust and noise and using the river Gaasp as a transport route. Within IXAS, opportunities to involve residents in the project were also considered. In cooperation with Rijkswaterstaat, we organised weekly guided tours, a pop-up cinema in the tunnel and various open days.
Building consortium IXAS is responsible for the management and maintenance of the motorway and the Gaasperdammertunnel until mid-2038. As we carried out this work as sustainably as possible, we have opted for more than 5,247 luminaires with LED lighting in the tunnel, and 394 light towers with LED lighting have been placed outside the tunnel. In addition, we applied 15 kilometres of light-coloured asphalt and installed 5,246 solar panels (1.96 MW)—both saving and generating energy.
Ronald grew up in an international environment: the basis of his career in integral projects. From his design and engineering background, he has grown into the project management of large, complex projects.