Jams as Velsertunnel reopens after nine-month renovation

The grey concrete ventilation towers for the Velsertunnel on the north bank of the IJ in the Netherlands.
The ventilation towers on the north bank of the IJ. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Netherlands’ oldest motorway tunnel reopened on Monday morning after a nine-month renovation – and immediately triggered traffic jams on its first day.

The Velsertunnel, which takes the A22 beneath the river IJ between IJmuiden and Beverwijk in Noord-Holland province, has been upgraded with new emergency sliproads, a digital management system and better ventilation.

The height of the tunnel has also been increased by 12 centimetres, but despite this one lorry driver brought traffic to a standstill by trying to go through with an oversized trailer. Queues built up when the traffic lights became stuck on red after the offending lorry was detected.

Around 65,000 drivers a year go through the tunnel, which was built in 1957. An open day last week when people could inspect the completed renovation work on foot attracted 10,000 visitors.

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