Seven islands on Amsterdam IJ. Originally used for the storage and transhipment of tree trunks, the area has since been transformed into a unique waterfront location. The only reminder of the past is its name: Houthavens. The Spaarndammertunnel, which opened in February 2018, has created a limited-traffic residential area that connects the new neighbourhood with the Spaarndammerbuurt.

The tunnel redirects through traffic underground to create more space above ground for nature, walking and cycling paths, and public transport. 'The existing road was a moving barrier between the two neighbourhoods. The creation of the 800-metre-long tunnel, 470 metres of which is covered, made it possible to redirect the 22.000 daily vehicle operations underground. In addition, the southern tunnel wall serves as a flood defence. Should the IJ river break its banks, Amsterdam would still be safe,' explains Sjoerd Bakkum, Project Organizer at Max Bögl.


The entire project, including the construction and technical installation of the tunnel, was awarded to Max Bögl. The construction company took an innovative approach by designing a structure that uses half the number of poles and causes virtually no noise pollution thanks to the unique construction method. According to Bakkum, this was the deciding factor that prompted the Municipality of Amsterdam to award the project to them. 'For the technical installations we chose OSMO, a German company that has demonstrable experience with deliveries and installations.' This was a strong team, according to Bakkum, were it not that the legal requirements surrounding the design and testing process in the Netherlands were fundamentally different than those in Germany. 'We realised well before construction began that we lacked the necessary knowledge.'


They were assisted by project manager John Voeten of ICT Group. 'Testing tunnel systems is part of our core business,' says Voeten. 'We understand the requirements set by the Amsterdam tunnel standard and know how to demonstrably meet these. That makes us a suitable consultant.' Bakkum agrees. 'The method ICT uses - the V-model - allowed us to identify and address issues at an early stage. We only started the next phase once the previous phase had been tested and approved. ICT Group determined which tests were critical and which weren't, thereby reducing the overall number of tests.'

"Because of this mutually beneficial relationship,
we achieved more with less effort. The result is
an impressive product!"


Initially hired to play an advisory role, the fifteen-person ICT group soon demonstrated their added value in the field of design and programming as well. 'We were given plenty of freedom within the established framework to innovate as much as possible,' explains Voeten. 'This allowed us to offer the best possible solution before construction even began, such as the possibility to predict when an installation or system will fail and when it requires maintenance.' Sharing feedback, advising, and initiating optimisations, both in the design and the test phase, accelerated and simplified the process, which in turn saved money.


In terms of collaboration, all three parties were more than satisfied. The Municipality of Amsterdam was particularly pleased with the progress of the project. 'We maintained constructive contact with each other, even when there were problems and when things didn't go as planned,' says Bakkum. 'Because of this mutually beneficial relationship, we achieved more with less effort. The result is an impressive product!'