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How do you get all the installations in The Netherlands’ first double-decker tunnel to work in Unison?

‘Luxus’ tunnel gives Maastricht region much-needed impulse

The end of last year saw the opening in Maastricht of the first ever double-decker tunnel in the Netherlands. But how do you make sure that more than 50 tunnel and traffic-related technical systems work together without a hitch? Paul de Haas from Avenue2 and ICT Group’s Hans van Engelen and Wibo Tienstra tell us how it was done. The opening of the ‘A2 tunnel’ on 16 December 2016 was never going to lack for attention. Obviously partly because this was the first ever double-decker tunnel in the Netherlands: the motorway (A2) traffic drives through the two lower tunnels, while local traffic (N2) passes through the upper two tunnels. ‘Germans call this type of tunnel a ‘luxus’ tunnel and highly experienced tunnel country Switzerland followed our project with a great deal of interest. But there was also a lot of international interest due to the potential for the above-ground redesign of the Maastricht-East district’, says Paul de Haas from Avenue2, the construction consortium of Strukton and Ballast Nedam that the Ministry of Waterways and Public Works commissioned to build the tunnel.

More than 50 technical installations
The technical installation operates as one unified system, but consists of more than 50 different traffic and tunnel-related sub-installations that ensure that the traffic flows can navigate the tunnel quickly and safely. These systems include the likes of lighting, the SOS/MTM traffic system to monitor traffic and – in the event of a disaster – the cameras and barriers. Combining the more than 50 different sub-installations into one smoothly operating system was one of Avenue2’s biggest challenges. De Haas: ‘The numerous different installations also involve many different types of hardware and software. All of these had to be integrated in one reliable system.’

Quality a key priority
Avenue2 designed the software for all the installations. ICT Group and Nozhup (also part of ICT Group since September 2016) made an essential contribution to the project by providing specialists in a wide range of fields as the project progressed. ‘Both companies have the expertise and capacity this project needed’, De Haas says, explaining the consortium’s decision to work with the two companies. Given the high demands on the reliability of the software, quality was a major priority for Avenue2. This approach was of course a perfect match for that of ICT Group and Nozhup. ‘First of all, I wrote a software plan on the basis of the architecture drawn up by the Avenue2 software architects’, says Hans van Engelen. ‘We then joined forces with the Avenue2 team in Maarssen to develop and test the software outlined in that plan. Then the test team in Maastricht led by Wibo Tienstra tested the software on location.’

Team result
Due to the sheer scale of the project and the range of hardware and software suppliers, this project required a lot of different specialists. ‘It was quite a challenge to find those people, says Wibo Tienstra. He and Hans van Engelen devoted a lot of time to simply forging the ‘newcomers’ into a unified team. Van Engelen: ‘Of course we wanted to make sure all our people knew the project and the processes inside out, but we also wanted them to feel responsible for results and for them to think in terms of how to solve any problems along the way.’

Smoothly operating system
The ‘investment’ in quality and people certainly paid off: ‘The controlled production process resulted in a smoothly operating system. ‘We have not seen any unexpected issues since the tunnel was taken into operation’, says De Haas. ICT Group has now completed its work on the tunnel systems. A team from Strukton will now maintain the systems for the next seven years, with ICT Group acting as a help desk for the operating system. ‘The tunnel marks the beginning of a project to improve the living environment and the traffic flows in the Maastricht region’, concludes Avenue2’s De Haas. ‘This will result in a sharp reduction in air and noise pollution, and improve the accessibility of both the city and the region. And once the urban development and infrastructural improvements are completed in 10 years or so, Maastricht-East will be cleaner, greener and more accessible. I’m proud of the fact that together with ICT Group and many other suppliers we were able to make our contribution to these improvements.’

Contact for this case

Roel de Backer

Business Unit Manager Water & Infra

t +31 6 50 20 23 66

e roel.de.backer@ict.nl