The new Botlek-Bridge is a moveable / lifting bridge that is being constructed to replace the existing Botlek-Bridge, as part of the larger A15 motorway expansion project named A15 Maasvlakte – Vaanplein (MaVa) in the Netherlands.

The larger project aims to handle the anticipated increase in traffic due to the construction of APM Terminals’ Maasvlakte II facility in Rotterdam.

The new bridge, which is expected to be one of Europe’s biggest moveable bridges, is being constructed adjacent to the existing Botlek-Bridge, traversing the Oude Maas River. Construction began in mid-2011 and is expected to be completed by December 2015.

The bridge replacement project will remove a bottleneck for ships, caused by the existing low and narrow moveable bridge’s limited navigation clearance and improve the flow of road traffic, which is currently hampered due to frequent lifting of the existing bridge.

Details of A15 Maasvlakte – Vaanplein (MaVa)

The larger A15 MaVa project involves the expansion of approximately 47km of the A15 motorway between Maasvlakte and Vaanplein.

It also involves the construction of a new bridge, renovation of the Botlek and Thomassen tunnels, a revamp of 36 existing structural works, the development of 12 new structures and installation of new traffic management systems.

Design of the new Botlek-Bridge

The new bridge has an overall length of 1,243m and carries four traffic lanes, two hard shoulders (separate lanes for slow traffic) and a two-track railway line.

It features two spans, each measuring 90m-long, 50m-wide and 14m-high above water level. Installation of the bridge’s two steel decks weighing 3,750t each was completed in September 2014.

“The larger A15 MaVa project involves the expansion of approximately 47km of the A15 motorway between Maasvlakte and Vaanplein.”

The two decks are suspended on six 64m-high lifting pillars, each of which is installed with two sets of red cable pulleys. The bridge’s 2,500t counterweight is constructed of pre-stressed concrete beam.

Concrete sections of the counterweight are 45.5m-long and 8m-high.

The designed average lifting height of the bridge is 32m, the maximum lifting height is 45m and the overall weight to be lifted on each side, following completion of the bridge, is 4,850t.

An estimated time for lifting and lowering the bridge is 120s, equivalent to one time an hour or 9,000 times a year. The separate components of the two decks were manufactured in Germany and assembled by Mammoet at Rotterdam.

Contractors involved with the Botlek-Bridge replacement

The design, build, finance and maintenance (DBFM) contract for the A15 MaVa project was awarded to A-Lanes A15, a joint venture (JV) between Strabag, Ballast Nedam, Strukton and John Laing in September 2010 by the Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management of the Netherlands Rijkswaterstaat.

John Laing owns a 28% share in A-Lanes A15, while the other three groups hold 24% each in the JV and a one-third stake each in the design, build and maintenance phases. The maintenance phase is effective for 20 years, following the start of commercial operation.

The architect for the bridge is Quist Wintermans Architekten in the Netherlands. In April 2012, Waagner-Biro was contracted to design, supply and install the bridge’s drive components, electronics and controls, as well as hydraulic systems associated with counterweight and lifting systems.

Oranjewoud was appointed for traffic analysis, and Allen & Overy, BNP Paribas / RebelGroup and Marsh were appointed to advise on legal, financial and insurance aspects of the A15 MaVa project, respectively.

U-shaped sleeve pipes comprising water pipes and plastic ducts, through which data and power cables are drawn, were assembled at Van der Vlist’s Moerdijk terminal and transported to the project site by Mammoet.

The prefabricated bridge operator house was supplied by Octatube, while the project’s 12t cable wheels and bridge operator house were installed by Sarens Nederland.

The software to operate and control the new bridge was supplied by ICT. Blomsma Signs & Safety was awarded the contract in May 2015 to provide the bridge’s safety signs and symbols.

Contractors involved in the design included FCP-SK, Burdock Group, Valor Engineering and FCP, while other contractors involved in the project include Rope Access Group, Vienna Consulting Engineers, Eiffage Métal and CatiCon.

Financing

Overall investment for the A15 MaVa project is estimated to be €1.5bn (approximately $1.69bn), which is being fully arranged by A-Lanes A15.

The banks involved in financing the project are ABN AMRO Bank, Fortis Bank, NIBC Bank, Société Generale, UniCredit, European Investment Bank, Ballast Nedam Concessies, John Laing Investments, Strabag and Strukton Integrale Projecten.