From the elevated personnel pedestrian bridge, the old A9 route at Bijlmermeer looks like a kilometre-long canyon in the flat Amsterdam South-east land. Wedged between steel sheet pile walls and blocks of earth wrapped in cloth, Rijkswaterstaat and IXAS are working on a three-kilometre long five-tube land tunnel that will be opened to traffic in 2020. At the bottom of the ‘canyon’ it is bristling with excavators, lifting cranes, leaders, reachers, dumper trucks and other equipment. Everywhere you look there are orange-coloured figures, seemingly walking around without any purpose. The layperson sees chaos, the expert sees a well-oiled machine.
IXAS is a special purpose company created by Heijmans, Ballast Nedam, Fluor and 3i. These parties are jointly responsible for the execution of the DBFM contract.
Stick to the Plan
“This is a densely populated area,” says Sjaak. “The space available to us to do our work is limited. You could compare it to building on a stamp. This makes the logistics, such as the supply and removal of materials and the placement of lifting cranes, extremely important. During the preparatory work all this was given careful thought and solutions were developed. Through means of excellent planning and measuring, we are succeeding. 'Stick to the plan' is our motto here. Stick to the plans and agreements that have been made. In this ‘ant heap’ everyone knows exactly what they are doing, so that the work is carried out efficiently. We have achieved all of the specified milestones and are well on schedule.”
Temporary is Permanent
The last milestone dates back to 6 June 2016. This is the date on which we started working on the actual construction of the tunnel. Before this we completed numerous preparatory activities, including the completion of all permits, the rerouting of the A9 motorway, the construction and commissioning of the alternating lane, and the installation and anchoring of the sheet pile walls to ensure that the relocated A9 does not sink into the construction pit.