On the way on the A9: “You have to be content with the space you get”

Amstelveen – work on the A9 motorway near Amstelveen is currently on schedule. With the partial demolition of the A9 bridges in Amsterdamseweg and Kazernepad and the construction of a new slipway, a summer collection full of complex works was recently completed. Sjoerd Hooghiemstra as Team Leader stages of the road From contractor FCC Construccion (part of VeenIX) he plays a particularly critical role on the project and ensures that the nearly myriad sprockets integrate seamlessly as they work.

Nor will Shourd deny that the pressure was high during the last weekend of August. Because that weekend – to put it mildly – there was so much to do and no room for error. With the partial and temporary closure of half-roads and lanes, there was simply no possibility of overtaking: everything had to be done in one weekend. “You have to be content with the space you get,” says Shourd. And it means not only time, but also surface area.

summer finale

Earlier this summer, Sjoerd had already been involved in several complex operations around the A9 at Amstelveen, where the artwork (construction) had to be completed in record time. This varied from installing central support points to constructing temporary bridges – and then raising those bridges, but also building new temporary entrance and exit, building abutment plates, and last but not least, countless earthworks. The last weekend of August was, as it were, the last part of the major summer operation and Shord could now breathe a sigh of relief. He does this, of course, with the people he’s working with on the project. Everyone is happy when everything goes according to plan. There is a real team feeling.

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on the lists

“It actually went really smooth,” Shourd says of the summer finale. He was responsible for ensuring that work on all three sub-areas of the A9 (East-Mid-West) was connected in a timely manner. Of course, this requires ingenious preparation and a solid example of planning. Not only was the partial demolition of the bridges what needed to be done, but the removal of debris, connecting the new exit to the A9 motorway, building new sewers and other earthworks. All of this had to be coordinated and executed in limited time and space, with large numbers of people on the “working floor” (or construction site).


No matter how good the preparation is, when the moment comes, it’s still exciting. “If things go wrong, I really have something to explain,” Schord says. “Before, you play a video in your head of how things should go, and then you also hope it goes like this. It is above all a matter of keeping calm,” says Shourd, sober and experienced. He also previously worked on a refurbishment of the A6 near Almere, It is part of the same multi-billion dollar project that includes the renovation of the A9: the Schiphol-Amsterdam-Almere Road Total Extension (also known as SAA).

The crucial schedule of work was planned for the last weekend of August on an hourly basis, so that it was possible to constantly monitor whether everything was on schedule. Shourd was also dependent on input from, say, the demolition team. “During the so-called critical work, which included demolishing bridges and connecting the new exit to the A9 motorway, we built the parking moments: then we report on the progress,” says Shourd. “Fortunately everything went well.”

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Partial demolition of the Amsterdamseweg Bridge. Pictured: Henry Knetter

security over security

Shourd explains that in the A9 project everything is safe to say the least. The fact that the old bridges at Amsterdamseweg and Kazernepad were now demolished first (so that the A9 was only closed in one direction of travel and not entirely) was already considered in the tender phase of the project. But then the implementation still had to be pursued.

This is also preceded by a phase in which extensive constructive checks follow. In this case, this led to additional measures, because the calculations showed that the half-bridge can be very unstable if a truck unexpectedly crashes into the bridge. “The chance is very small, but there are no risks: It’s a certainty, a certainty, a certainty,” Shourd says. “Ultimately, we had to build an additional steel structure around the bridge’s central support at Amsterdamseweg, so that half of the bridge that remained could also withstand collisions.”

old railway bridge

The fact that Rijkswaterstaat and VeenIX would not operate overnight was also evident during preparations for the construction of the temporary Kazernepad bridge (Sjoerd pictured). There are still remains of an old railway bridge. Rijkswaterstaat made a note about this on the basis of a very old archive drawing and it turned out to be true. As a result, we also had to make adjustments there. We had to move the poles. As a result, they weren’t quite in line, but I don’t think anyone would notice, Shurd laughs.

The real construction hasn’t started yet

A lot has happened this summer about the A9 in Amstelveen. What people may not realize is that it is in fact still a preparatory work: the actual construction of the deepening and widening motorway through Amstelveen has yet to begin. Work carried out this summer was necessary to create space so that the new motorway could be built soon, while Amstelveen remains ‘normal’ accessible via the A9 (which has been partially converted).

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It now appears that the current A9 will be partially converted via Amstelveen in the fall of 2022, so that there is room to build the sunken barge where the new motorway will be laid. First, a bypass will be created in the direction of A2, after which the lane will also follow in the direction of Schiphol.

Reversals still to be seen

Of course, Amstelveen still has a long way to go in this regard, but Schord is ready and relieved that the project remains well on schedule, despite some setbacks that can still be overseen. For example, the partial closure of Amsterdamseweg will take longer, and unfortunately, the intended temporary bike bridge to Stadshart was completed too late due to a lack of steel. As a solution, a temporary pedestrian bridge was built so that additional travel time for pedestrians would be limited. Even having a cyclist’s bridge there, cyclists will be diverted across Bovenlandpad.

Overall, Schord is looking forward to the next phases of the project, and he and the team are determined to make it a success. Continued…

AmstelveenZ tracks the work around the A9 at Amstelveen with current and in-depth articles, including job announcements, interviews and various recurring sections, both online (section Please Wait!) and in the monthly magazine (section on the road on the A9). This article is a follow-up to the eleventh issue of the Onderweg op de A9 magazine column from the September 2021 issue.

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