Director General Michèle Blom signed the contract on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat. Sander Lefevre (member of the board of Ballast Nedam) and Ger van der Schaaf (executive director at Fluor Infrastructure) did the same on behalf of ALSÉEN.
In her speech prior to the signing, Blom indicated that she has high expectations for the collaboration. ‘Trust, expertise and collaboration are the cornerstones of this project. I am confident that we will complete this mega-challenge together.‘
Extension of the A27 motorway, a unique project
The signing in Fort Altena, located near the A27 motorway, was graced with a round table discussion. Marc Lentjes (project manager A27 Houten – Hooipolder) explained what makes the project unique in his eyes.
‘It is a mega-project with a complex task, both technically, organizationally and administratively. Just think of the construction of 2 new Merwede bridges over one of the busiest waterways in Europe.‘
Ronald de Geus (deputy project director ALSÉÉN) referred to the interdisciplinary and integrated nature of the project. ‘This requires the best knowledge and skills on the market, in order to complete the project in a controlled and predictable way for everyone. We all want that: it’s our own (tax) money, it’s our time we spend on the road, it’s our shared ambition to carry out this project safely and consciously in a sustainable way.‘
Passion for the Merwede Bridge
At the meeting, a number of stakeholders also spoke about the importance of the project. That’s what the truck driver and very involved road user and Twitter user said Tony Smith about his passion for the Merwede Bridge and the influence activities can have on his work.
As Chairman of the Administrative Advisory Group (BAG), Marcel Doodkorte discussed the BAG’s contribution to the project and his expectations for the completion of the work. In addition, entrepreneur and chairman of the industrial circle Gorinchem Edward van der Meijden spoke about his concerns about the traffic flow on the A27 during the work and explained what he himself could do about it.
Implementation with a two-phase approach
Now that the contract has been signed, Rijkswaterstaat and ALSÉÉN can start this project. We work according to the two-phase approach. This is because the project involves many risks and uncertainties: it involves a long route, with bridges that urgently need to be renewed, and work that can cause significant disruption for a long time.
In addition, the unpredictable price development in the construction industry and the shortage of qualified personnel also play a role. The approach means that ALSÉÉN will create the design in the first phase in close collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat. The necessary technology and the best construction method are also investigated.
In this way, we work on well-thought-out design and good planning, but also on reliable final pricing and good risk distribution and cost control. We do this to make the implementation (2nd phase) as predictable and manageable as possible.
Towards a vital infrastructure sector
The two-phase approach is an important part of the transition to a vital infrastructure sector, which Rijkswaterstaat and the market partners have implemented in 2020. Experience has already been gained with this in various projects.
By applying this approach to the widening of the A27 Houten – Hooipolder, Rijkswaterstaat and the market are showing how they shape the transition in a major project. For example, significant investments were already made in the collaboration in the dialogue phase of the project.
A good relationship was built early on and a climate created where the various interests and concerns can be discussed and solutions sought together. This lays a good foundation for a successful implementation. The first work is expected to be visible to road users and residents in mid-2024.