A water barrier that rises ‘by itself’ and protects the surrounding area against the nearly three-metre-high water of the Maas. With this fine piece of Dutch engineering work, the Dijkzone Alliantie – a construction combination of Ploegam, Hollandia Infra and Dura Vermeer in collaboration with Vlotterkering BV – commissioned by Waterboard Limburg will make the Maashoek in Steyl, a monastery village in Limburg, flood-proof for the future.
This unique type of flood defence has never been built before. After an intensive tendering procedure, the Dijkzone Alliance was commissioned by the Limburg Water Board to develop the design for this barrier. The project is part of the national High Water Protection Programme.
A strict selection
The current barrier ‘at Steyl’ is not high enough and not strong enough. During the high tide last summer, for example, an emergency measure was required. Steyl is a state-protected village; both the view onto and from the Maas are special. The self-closing barrier will block the view from and to the public square only when it is really needed: at high water. That is why a strict selection process took place during the tender period, in which price, spatial quality, environmental nuisance and technical reliability were tested. The idea of the Dijkzone Alliance received the highest total score of all bidders.
It is a hinged float system of a steel valve with floats at the bottom that are fully protected. The floats are located in a concrete tank. If the tank fills up at high water, the barrier rises to its turning position. Rubber profiles ensure a watertight seal at the bottom and at the gates.
Balcony outside the dike
“The technology is actually very simple, yet extremely robust, so that we are confident that Steyl and Venlo will be well protected at high water,” says administrator Jos Teeuwen. The design is also special because the public area is incorporated on the outside of the barrier. Teeuwen: “This means that the residents, who live close to the barrier in Steyl, are inconvenienced as little as possible by recreationists. That’s a good thing, because we know they’re worried about more traffic on their doorstep. The Dike Zone Alliance is proud to be able to further develop the Vlotterkering®, which was designed in 2006 by G. Jansen and J. Vermond. Director Gijs Ploegmakers of Ploegam: “With this we are actually creating a kind of balcony outside the dikes for Steyl.”
The plans of the Dijkzone Alliance have not yet been worked out in detail. We are incorporating input from the local community into a final project plan and carrying out the necessary research. This will enable us to further develop the design for the barrier in the coming period. The plans so far can be viewed on the website of the Limburg Water Board.