13 June 2022
The Rotterdam region is of great economic importance. Rijkswaterstaat has noticed that this region is coming under pressure from overcrowded roads. To guarantee accessibility, quality of life and economic activity in the future, a new connection is needed. The Blankenburgverbinding is a new freeway (A24) that will connect the A20 at Vlaardingen with the A15 at Rozenburg from 2024 onwards. Construction consortium BAAK (a combination of Ballast Nedam and DEME Infra) is constructing the Blankenburgverbinding on the constructions of Rijkswaterstaat. The contract includes the design, construction, 20 years of maintenance and the entire financing of approximately 1 billion Euros. With two junctions, a land tunnel and an immersed tunnel, the accessibility of the Rotterdam region will be improved, and a contribution will be made to the growth of the economy.
The Maasdeltatunnel forms the link between the north and south banks of the Blankenburgverbinding. Two tunnel elements will be immersed in the river Het Scheur at a depth of 28 meters below sea level. A tunnel with a story, a construction of Dutch Craftsmanship.
The biggest challenge within this project is the immersion of the two tunnel elements, which together form the Maasdeltatunnel.
In a dry dock, a stone’s throw from the construction site in Rozenburg, BAAK built two tunnel elements of approximately 200 meters long, 42 meters wide and 8 meters high. In order to make the tunnel elements watertight, Strukton Immersion Projects provided the four tunnel bulkheads. The modular steel bulkhead panels were placed in the openings with great precision. This precision is crucial because the smallest imperfections can lead to leaks.
After installing all mooring wires and winches, everything was carefully and extensively checked against checklists. A GO during the Go/No Go meeting was the signal to fill the construction dock with water. During the filling process, continuous checks were carried out in the tunnel elements and the tunnel elements were floated up in a controlled manner. With two tugboats the tunnel elements were transported to a temporary mooring location. The floating up and transport was carried out with precision and craftmanship by the team of specialists from Strukton Immersion Projects and DEME Infra.
The tunnel elements will remain at the temporary mooring location awaiting the immersion. In 2024 the final result will be a 924-meter tunnel for traffic between Rozenburg and Vlaardingen.
(Source: among others Rijkswaterstaat, Ballast Nedam, DEME Infra)