Dutch dredging and marine construction major Van Oord is part of the Levvel consortium, awarded a €550m Afsluitdijk reinforcement project by the Netherlands’ Rijkswaterstaat.

The Afsluitdijk has symbolised Dutch marine engineering excellence since 1932

Van Oord Aberdeen Infrastructure Partners BV takes a 46% stake in Levvel, joined by BAM PPP PGGM Infrastructure Cooperatie UA (46%) and RebelValley BV (8%). Levvel will be responsible for the design, build, finance and 25 year maintenance of the strengthened Afsluitdijk. Works are set to commence in the autumn of this year and continue into 2023.

The Afsluitdijk has proudly represented Dutch marine engineering excellence since its completion in 1932. The 32km long dam protects large parts of the Netherlands against flooding from the Wadden Sea (North Sea) and the Ijsselmeer but after 85 years the dyke is in need of renewal.

As part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Rijkswaterstaat is responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the Netherlands’ main infrastructure facilities.

Levvel has based its tender on managing risks, using opportunities, energy neutral and sustainable construction, and smart use of proven technology. The Afsluitdijk will be reinforced to withstand a once every ten thousand year storm event. Its drainage capacity, which presently consists solely of natural flow, will be expanded with new pumps. Levvel’s discharge solution will consume as little energy as possible, adhering to the maxim ‘natural discharge if possible, pumping if necessary'. This will ensure that in 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 extra discharge capacity, the existing giant Spuisluizen drainage locks at Den Oever will remain completely intact and renovated. Level will strengthen the dyke with innovative concrete elements. The innovative character of the project will be demonstrated by the application of a fibre reinforced plastic floodgate in the fish migration river. Highway A7, which runs atop the Afsluisdijk will be made safer by widening the emergency lanes. Levvel’d design also addresses recreational and ecological concerns by constructing a cycle path on the Wadden Sea side along the entire length of the Afsluisdijk, ecological facilities along the dyke and fish friendly pumps.

On behalf of the Levvel consortium, Van Oord CEO Pieter Van Oord says, "As a consortium we are very pleased with the award of this contract. It is an honour to be able to contribute to this unique project, which has protected large parts of the Netherlands against flooding since 1932. After completing the reinforcement of the Afsluisdijk, the Netherlands once again has an iconic project as a symbol of the innovative nature of Dutch marine engineering."