At the end of 2025, there will be a new direct connection between the A16/A20 at Terbregseplein and the A13 at Rotterdam The Hague Airport. The 11-kilometre-long national highway, including a tunnel through the Lage Bergse Bos recreational area, should significantly improve the accessibility of Rotterdam and the quality of life for local residents. Nynke de Vries is involved in this project from EIFFEL Projects as an environmental consultant and talks about her work.

On behalf of client Rijkswaterstaat, Nynke has been responsible for a specific part of the route as an environmental consultant for 2 years: the Rottekade section. Here, the work has a major impact on local residents, because their houses are close to the construction site. Meeting the wishes of the residents is therefore one of the biggest challenges of the project, Nynke explains. “When I started this job, the residents' group had just stopped all contact. I consider it a success that we have been able to restart the consultation by meeting their wishes on a number of points.”

“It is an illusion that local residents agree with everything we do,” says Nynke. “But they now know that we take them seriously and also stand up for their interests. I will continue to do my best for that. For example, residents suffered a lot from the shaking of sheet pile walls at the Rotte and the Rottekade. Vibration would also cause a lot of inconvenience. Ultimately, we decided to leave a number of sheet pile walls in place locally, which saves a lot of inconvenience.”

Consulting with administrative stakeholders

Local residents are not the only stakeholders Nynke has to take into account in this project. Her work also consists of consulting and coordinating with administrative stakeholders such as involved municipalities, water authorities and the Rottemeren Recreation Board. A project of this size and impact involves many different topics, says Nynke. “Sometimes you are busy determining where we can plant trees to compensate for what was cut down in an earlier phase of the project. And other times it is about compensation claims for residents who see the value of their home drop.”

In practice, this means that no working week is the same for the environmental consultant. “From home visits and residents' evenings to administrative meetings and regular presence on the construction site: that variety and complexity ensures that the A16 Rotterdam project is truly the pinnacle of environmental management for me.”

A 'really cool project' with social impact

To realize the great ambitions of the project, Nynke works closely with the contractor De Groene Boog on behalf of client Rijkswaterstaat. She likes that very much. “We work together very constructively and in a pleasant atmosphere, even though contractually we sometimes have quite different interests,” she notes.

Nynke lives in Rotterdam herself and therefore finds it extra special to work on this project. “I just think it's a really cool project. Not only because of the technical aspect of the tunnel running through the forest and the flyover over Terbregseplein, but also because of the social impact. There will soon be a way to avoid Rotterdam's ring road, which will increase the accessibility of the city and reduce pressure on the underlying road network.”

This will also be the world's first energy-neutral highway with a tunnel, partly due to smart use of lighting in the tunnel and the generation of energy through solar panels located along the highway. “It is special to be part of such a project,” Nynke concludes.

She is happy to share this enthusiasm with the EIFFEL Projects environmental team, which she recently guided through the project together with a colleague from the contractor.