The Afsluitdijk, the 32 kilometre dyke which links the provinces of Noord-Holland and Friesland, is to undergo an extensive programme of maintenance, starting at the end of this year.
The overhaul is necessary because sea water levels are rising and there is an increasing risk of extreme weather, the infrastructure ministry’s road department said. In addition, too much water is entering the IJsselmeer lake from the rivers inland.
The dyke will be clad in 75,000 concrete blocks each weighing 6,500 kilos and produced at a special factory in Harlingen. The locks will be strengthened as well and new pumping stations will be built to get rid of superfluous water.
The project will cost €555m and will be finished in 2022.
It’s the first time in 85 years the Afsluitdijk, which was opened to traffic in 1933, will undergo such extensive work. ‘We put the dyke through its paces every six years and a number of years ago it became clear that it isn’t strong enough,’ project manager Joost van de Beek told broadcaster NOS.
The renovation will ensure the dyke’s safety until 2050, the ministry said. It will not be closed off during the work but there will be some disruption to traffic and one of the two traffic lanes will be closed for a total of two years.