Moving the new Helperzoom and Euroborg tunnel into position was called off at the last minute on Wednesday.
By Hans de Preter / Translation by Traci White
The decision came because the soil was determined to be unstable. The postponement could have significant consequences for travellers accessing the southern side of the city, particularly the Helpman and Coendersborg neighbourhoods. But according to Bert Kramer, director of the Herepoort contractors consortium, the overall plans for expanding the southern ring road should not be impacted.
In an interview with RTV Noord, Kramer said that the decision to postpone the plans came as a surprise, but was deemed necessary due to the unpredictable nature of the soil. The soil was expected to only sink a couple of millimetres after the tunnel was set in place, but the most recent tests showed that it could sink as much as ten centimetres.
The ground was found to be unstable and installing the tunnel has been postponed until the soil can be adequately stabilised. “We have to start all over again, and it’s hard to say how long that will take”, Kramer says. “That also means that it will be difficult to make arrangements with ProRail, which owns the railroad tracks where the tunnel will go underneath. It could take months. It could possibly be next year before we can find the time to move the tunnel into place.”
It will be a costly delay. “We had not anticipated this, so it’s a financial setback, no two ways about it.”
Kramer emphasises that the overall southern ring road project will not be greatly delayed by this setback: planned construction can move ahead. The Helperzoom tunnel will eventually improve access to the Helpman neighbourhood through the creation of a route from Helperzoom to the Euroborg. Kramer says that alternative plans to improve accessibility are now being taken into consideration.
Photo source: Aanpak Ring Zuid