Afsluitdijk renewal contract valued at approximately €550 million

Construction work is expected to start in the autumn of this year Construction work is expected to start in the autumn of this year

The Dutch Rijkswaterstaat responsible for infrastructure in the Netherlands has awarded a major contract for the Afsluitdijk project to the Levvel consortium. The main partners in this consortium are Van Oord Aberdeen Infrastructure Partners and BAM PPP PGGM Infrastructure Coöperatie U.A.

Levvel will be responsible for the design, building, finance and for 25 years of maintenance of the strengthened Afsluitdijk in the contract which is valued at approximately €550 million. Construction work is expected to start in the autumn of this year and to be completed in 2023.

Levvel claims it has based its tender on managing risks, using opportunities, sustainability and the smart use of proven technology. After the Afsluitdijk has been reinforced, it will be able to withstand a storm which happens once in every ten thousand years. At the same time, the drainage capacity from the Ijsselmeer, which now consists solely of natural flow, will be expanded with new pumps. Levvel’s discharge solution consumes as little energy as possible so that it will normally be ‘natural discharge when possible and pumping if necessary.’ This way, in the future, sufficient water can be drained from the Ijsselmeer to the Wadden Sea in all weather conditions.

For the construction of the new pumps and the extra discharge capacity, the existing monumental Spuisluizen drainage locks at Den Oever at the western end will remain completely intact and they will be renovated. Levvel will strengthen the dyke with innovative concrete elements and a further innovation will be shown in the application of a floodgate made from fibre-reinforced plastic in the fish migration river. In addition, the A7 highway that crosses the dyke will become safer by widening the emergency lanes. The design of Levvel pays attention to recreation and ecology through the construction of a cycle path on the Wadden Sea side along the entire length of the Afsluitdijk, the ecological facilities along the dyke and the fish-friendly pumps.

The Afsluitdijk has been an example of Dutch marine engineering for decades. The 32 kilometre long dam has protected large parts of the Netherlands against flooding from the Wadden Sea and the Ijsselmeer since 1932. Now after more than 85 years, the dyke is in need of renewal.

By Dag Pike

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