The only way is down in The Hague
Project: Construction of two tunnels each 1.56 km long with a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), with a total road length of roughly 3.8 km
Crew Members via iPS working on this project: 26
Total value project: 272 milion euros
Expected opening date: July 2020
‘It’s nice to be able to help the local community in The Hague with teir traffic frustration.’ Barrie Willis, Manager Tunneling Department, talks with a special interest about this project.
‘The traffic network in The Hague is under severe strain caused by the popularity of the city, which will keep expanding in the future. The only way is down in this case. Underground urbanisation is necessary to be able to commute in and around The Hague.’ The Rotterdamsebaan project will provide a solution for a better flow of traffic in one of the most congested areas of the Netherlands.
Barrie continues: ‘Normally, I need to get on a plane to see our many projects. Now it’s twenty minutes from the office, which is very convenient to visit regularly and helps maintain a close relationship with both our employees and the client.’
The Rotterdamsebaan is a road tunnel project in The Hague to reduce traffic congestion from and within the city centre. iPS is currently assisting with the excavation of the second tunnel with one tunnel excavation already completed. Around February 2019, iPS also expects to have input with the secondary lining and the installation of six cross passages (safety passages between the tunnels). The first cars are expected to drive through in July 2020. The total road length will be roughly 3.8 kilometres long, including the two tunnels of 1.56 kilometres long.The tunnels connect motorways A4 and A13 by going beneath motorway A4, going from ground level down a slope into the tunnel. The ramp structures of this slope are 650 meters long.
Every project has its unique set of challenges, as did this project. Barrie explains: ‘The ground in this area is mostly soft sand, so for the cross passage excavation a ground freezing technique will be used to prepare the groundfor the excavation. The ground freezing will take about four weeks per cross passage to ensure sufficient ground support before commencing excavation. To reduce construction time, a number of freezing units will be used in parallel.’ This project has utilised only one TBM for the construction of both tunnels which run beneath the centre of the city,’ Barrie says. ‘With a lot of traffic and a lack of space, careful planning was needed during the relocation of the TBM. After finishing the first tunnel, we had to disassemble the TBM and move it back to the start location to reassemble and commission it again. This process took about three months, moving parts every day and night through the centre of The Hague. The TBM has a diameter of 11.25 metres and weighs about 1,000 tons.’
Barrie has worked as the Tunnelling Manager at iPS for eleven years and has a long and broad history in the industry. With experience in managing projects world wide, he knows exactly what to look for in creating the best team for projects like this. ‘For this project our team consists of 26 experts with a combined 350 years of experience, avariety of nationalities and different skills and expertise. We delivered people for all aspects of this project. It’s always a nice challenge to create a cohesive team with a common interest to deliver high-quality work. In my experience in working globally, I know what kind of mentality and character work together the best in challenging conditions. It is our strength to find the right blend of the desired mentality, personality and skillset. Both our clients and candidates trust our judgement and instinct. We are not simply a personnel supplier, but a partner of the project, ensuring the best solution for client and candidate.’ Barrie continues: ‘Safety and good working conditions for the candidates arevery important to iPS. We care about our people. They all have families who expect them to come home safely, so we understand the responsibility. We are a family company, and that is how we want to treat our people. This is why people like working with us so much, I guess.
’iPS has a long and familiar relationship with Rotterdamsebaan JV as well. They work with partners of the joint venture all over the world in various projects. Barrie: ‘It’snice to integrate with different parties and work towards achieving a common objective. And when the project then succeeds, we all celebrate.’
Katja Abraham, Tunnel Manager TBM-Tunnel Rotterdamsebaan
‘I am the tunnel manager since 2016 for the TBM-tunnel drive as a part of the whole project. In this function I am mainly responsible for the realisation of the construction of the tunnel itself with all its requirement. For our team, our budgets and to reach the milestones set to us – amongst others.’
‘There are challenges in this project, like the performance of high quality under very strict requirements by the clients regarding settlements. There are almost everywhere sensitive buildings above us along the route. Plus a lot of interfaces with other activities performed by our colleagues from civil works at the same time on the same spot.’