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Old May 4th, 2016, 12:56 PM   #13561
ChrisZwolle
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It has to do with Dutch environmental regulations prior to 2009. Back in those days, it was almost impossible to widen any motorway due to air quality regulations. To speed the process up the 'plus lane' was invented as a left shoulder that would open only during peak hours. This required a shorter procedure. Prior to 2009, the average procedural time for a road expansion project was more than 10 years, not counting the political decision-making process before that. It's now been reduced to 2-4 years.

A plus lane has largely fallen out of favor since 2009, when air quality wasn't a problem anymore. Only one has been built since 2013 (A15 west of Rotterdam) due to space constraints. The A15 runs through the largest petrochemical complex of Europe, and runs on a retaining wall that cannot be widened without extraordinary cost (pipelines run next to it). So they wanted to keep a shoulder for emergency services, but not widen the existing motorway. So they built a 'plus lane' in the median within the existing width of the motorway.

There are currently 11 locations with 'plus lanes'. They vary in width. Some are practically the width of a regular lane (A12) but some are very narrow (A28) with a 2 meter vehicle width limitation. They managed to squeeze additional lanes within the existing right-of-way. For example they added plus lanes to A28 through Zwolle in 2004 without expanding the motorway outward.
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Old May 4th, 2016, 07:57 PM   #13562
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A1, Muiden

SPMTs are being readied for the transport of the new railroad bridge across the A1 motorway near the town of Muiden, which will be installed from Friday evening to Saturday morning.



A1 will be closed to all traffic in both directions from 6 May 20:00 hrs to 7 May 12:00 hrs. Local roads will also be closed to prevent them being used as an alternate route, these narrow two-lane roads are not capable of handling motorway volumes. The official detour is A27-A12-A2 all the way around Utrecht. Traffic will likely also use N230 along the north side of Utrecht. Heavy congestion is expected. A1 normally carries almost 200,000 vehicles per day, and traffic tends to be heavy during weekends as well.

The railroad bridge is 255 meter long, 55 meter high and weighs 8400 tons. It was constructed next to the motorway. It contains as much steel as the Eiffel Tower. The SPMTs will transport the bridge over a distance of 400 meters. They had to improve the soil conditions to carry the weight of the bridge.

The bridge will be transported to a temporary location across A1. They still have to pour concrete, but otherwise the bridge would be too heavy to transport across this type of soft soil. The bridge will be moved to its final location in late August.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 02:41 AM   #13563
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
A VMS displayed 'politiecontrole' (police check) over A4 yesterday. In this sense, it's usually understood as a speed check. The result? A 20 kilometer traffic jam, despite the fact that it is vacation in the Netherlands.
I saw similar this yesterday driving home in Ontario

The VMS was displaying "SPEED ENFORCED" with a police logo
suddenly traffic I was following at 130-140 km/h went to 110 km/h
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Old May 6th, 2016, 01:29 PM   #13564
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Current transportation minister Melanie Schultz has announced she won't be available for a third term as minister in a next government. Elections are scheduled for March 2017.

Schultz is not your typical politician, in fact she has almost never been a member of parliament, she was an official in 5 governments, from 2002-2007 as the undersecretary for transportation, and from 2010 to present as minister of transportation, with various portfolios.

Her current portfolio is generally seen as 'light', chiefly because she manages roads, water and spatial planning, policy areas with little controversies, compared to railroads where every issue is exaggerated and debated in parliament.

Schultz has thus far signed 27 plan approval orders for motorway expansion projects, probably the most of any minister in history. She also managed to reform spatial planning regulations, which she considers her most important achievement. The Omgevingswet reduces the amount of laws from 26 to 1, number of articles from 5000 to 350, resulting in one single law for all spatial regulation. However, these policy areas tend to attract little media attention. She also led numerous trade missions abroad, chiefly for water topics, mostly to developing countries which have problems with water quality, availability and protection. The delta works continue to be a major selling point of Dutch water expertise.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 01:35 PM   #13565
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If you look at the polls today, there's a high likeliness that the Greens will be part of the next governing coalition. For them, it would be a great prize to land the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in the next cabinet.

We could go from Schultz to a Greens minister on that post. Now that would be interesting.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 02:52 PM   #13566
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Already feeling sorry for you guys.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 02:57 PM   #13567
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There is one expansion project that draws a lot of criticism from GreenLeft, it is the widening of A27 along the east side of Utrecht.

The draft EIA will be published next week, so the final EIA will likely be signed by late 2016, in time for the elections.

Besides that, a minister is bound by the coalition agreement. It is unlikely that a GreenLeft minister would cancel projects where the plan approval process has already been concluded.

If GreenLeft participates in the coalition, it is also possible they will get the undersecretary position with a portfolio shuffle, for example awarding them environment and railroads. Labour also wanted the railroads portfolio. In many cases, portfolios of a ministry are divided among the minister and undersecretary (the latter is also called a minister when abroad).

The attitude towards motorway expansion projects has also changed a lot over the past 10 years. Prior to 2009 almost any capacity expansion project was vocally opposed by GreenLeft and NGOs like Milieudefensie or Milieufederatie. That has quiet down significantly since then.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 09:16 PM   #13568
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
SPMTs are being readied for the transport of the new railroad bridge across the A1 motorway near the town of Muiden, which will be installed from Friday evening to Saturday morning.
Rijkswaterstaat has a livestream on Youtube. Pretty cool how 5000 people are watching this.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 10:34 PM   #13569
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Nearly 14,000 viewers currently. Even the Dutch broadcasting corporation NOS made a report about it, usually they don't cover road projects.
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Old May 6th, 2016, 11:49 PM   #13570
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
There is one expansion project that draws a lot of criticism from GreenLeft, it is the widening of A27 along the east side of Utrecht.

The draft EIA will be published next week, so the final EIA will likely be signed by late 2016, in time for the elections.

Besides that, a minister is bound by the coalition agreement. It is unlikely that a GreenLeft minister would cancel projects where the plan approval process has already been concluded.

If GreenLeft participates in the coalition, it is also possible they will get the undersecretary position with a portfolio shuffle, for example awarding them environment and railroads. Labour also wanted the railroads portfolio. In many cases, portfolios of a ministry are divided among the minister and undersecretary (the latter is also called a minister when abroad).

The attitude towards motorway expansion projects has also changed a lot over the past 10 years. Prior to 2009 almost any capacity expansion project was vocally opposed by GreenLeft and NGOs like Milieudefensie or Milieufederatie. That has quiet down significantly since then.
How can a simple motorway widening create serious environmental concerns? I can understand if it was a brand new highway across virgin lands, but what's so special with few meters of land on the sides of an existing motorway? Actually, it could even create some environmental benefits, because traffic will more likely flow freely instead of being blocked in long queues, that cause more pollution.
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In real life, electronic toll collection was first introduced in Bergen, Norway in 1986, and well into the 21th century many countries still struggle to implement it.

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Old May 7th, 2016, 12:08 AM   #13571
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They would have to cut down part of an old forrest. And we don't have a lot of forrests left here, let alone old ones. There were already protests against the original construction in the 1980s.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 12:17 AM   #13572
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The A27 widening is quite substantial, it will be widened by 15 meters on either side, from 4+6 to 7+7 lanes.

However, they will mitigate the impact by constructing a long ecoduct across the motorway that reconnects the Amelisweerd forest with the city. The opposition is also more symbolic than practical, as the initial construction of the motorway was heavily opposed. They had to deploy riot police to clear the forest of protestors in the 1980s.

The exact design of the A27 expansion will be published next week. I can post some schematics to show the project.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 10:28 AM   #13573
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A1, Muiden

The railroad bridge has been moved successfully and is now installed on its temporary location across the A1 motorway.



It went right on schedule and no problems occurred. It was the heaviest object ever moved by road in the Netherlands. It is now by far the longest single-span bridge across a motorway.

The media all erroneously reported the motorway will be widened from 2x3 to 2x5 lanes. In reality, the motorway is being widened to 12 through lanes, but at this location near the Muiderberg motorway interchange, the bridge will span 17 lanes, including 2 reversible lanes, a merging lane and two bus lanes.

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Old May 7th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #13574
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A timelapse video of the operation:
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Old May 7th, 2016, 02:28 PM   #13575
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Drive-through video:

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Old May 7th, 2016, 03:06 PM   #13576
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Why the option for a single span instead of three spans with columns between the carriageways?
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Old May 7th, 2016, 03:19 PM   #13577
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That would likely require a lengthy interruption of train services. This bridge can be moved into its final position in just one weekend, reducing the interruption of train services. It also requires fewer traffic stops on the motorway.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 03:27 PM   #13578
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A similar project this week received much less media attention, the rail bridge across the new Buitenring Parkstad Limburg, a regional expressway around the Heerlen conurbation in southern Netherlands, was moved into position this week. It is a 4000 ton concrete structure that carries the railroad to Kerkrade over the new expressway. It is located near the Eygelshoven railway station.

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Old May 7th, 2016, 05:40 PM   #13579
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
The railroad bridge has been moved successfully and is now installed on its temporary location across the A1 motorway.



It went right on schedule and no problems occurred. It was the heaviest object ever moved by road in the Netherlands. It is now by far the longest single-span bridge across a motorway.

The media all erroneously reported the motorway will be widened from 2x3 to 2x5 lanes. In reality, the motorway is being widened to 12 through lanes, but at this location near the Muiderberg motorway interchange, the bridge will span 17 lanes, including 2 reversible lanes, a merging lane and two bus lanes.

An airplane view:

http://nos.nl/video/2103649-de-spoor...-de-lucht.html
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Old May 7th, 2016, 11:29 PM   #13580
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A1, Muiden

Some more good news concerning A1. The minister of transportation Schultz has announced that the realigned A1 will already partially open by fall 2016. So far the completion was planned in 2020 for the whole A1/A6 project. They likely won't open all 12 lanes until A9 through Amsterdam is completed, otherwise they would create an unnecessary bottleneck.
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