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New radar tower at Rotterdam Maasvlakte II site

Design – Manufacturing – Installation

On Friday 12 October 2018, the radar tower at Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte II industrial area was officially put into operation by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The new 70-metre tower on the sea wall along Prinses Maximaweg will provide the radar coverage that used to be provided by the former lighthouse on Europaweg. Having reached the end of its service life, the lighthouse is set to be demolished. The radar coverage it provided had been reducing gradually as more and more structures were erected across Maasvlakte that interfered with the signal. This was also why the sea wall was chosen as the location for the new radar tower. Besides a radar system, the new radar tower will also accommodate marine VHF equipment for communication with ships. The radar tower will also provide microwave data transmission to and from the offshore Goeree Light Platform, which is located 30 kilometres south west of Hook of Holland. This platform not only serves as an offshore lighthouse for ships, it also provides other shipping support, such as a radar system and hydrological/meteorological equipment.

Unique design

Hollandia Infra built the new radar tower for the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Hollandia hired architect Syb van Breda to make a design for a tower with a twisted oval shape that creates a double curved steel structure. This is not only a unique shape visually, it is also an exceptionally strong shape that gives the steel great rigidity. This kind of robustness is needed to prevent the high tower from leaning in high wind conditions, so that it can provide accurate radar images in all weather conditions. The foundation also plays a key role in this respect. Mobilis-Servicis was brought in by Hollandia Infra to build the foundation in the sea wall, take care of the exterior layout, and install the structural facilities in the tower.

Eye-catching material

Not just the shape, but the material is also a real eye-catcher; the tower is made of weatherproof and pre-rusted steel, which is also known as corten steel, which is both visually attractive and highly functional. The rust on the exterior makes that oxygen cannot reach the underlying layers of steel, meaning that the tower exterior needs no maintenance. Apart from that, this material is 100% recyclable. And so, this new radar tower was built with both sustainability and aesthetics in mind, entirely in line with the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s aim to also make Maasvlakte II a great place to visit for recreation.

Mega transport and construction

On 12 June 2018, the tower was transported to its location. The 3 assembly-ready parts were loaded onto a pontoon and shipped from Hollandia’s yard in Krimpen aan den IJssel to the westernmost tip of Maasvlakte II. As the unusually large cargo made its way along the river through the heart of Rotterdam, many people flocked to the river banks to see it with their own eyes. On 13 June 2018, the first part of the tower was placed on the foundation. Installing the foundation in the sea wall was a complex operation because subsiding of the sea wall had to be prevented at all cost. For the excavation, sheet piling was installed first to support the dike, and the foundation piles were inserted after that. The Tauw engineering firm had designed a foundation made up of 40-metre-long screw piles that were interconnected through a steel foundation frame just below ground level. The 70-metre-tall tower was subsequently built on top of this steel frame.

After completion of system installation work in the bottom part of the tower, the middle and top part of the tower, as well as the actual radar, were installed on 12 July 2018. The new radar tower was officially taken into operation in October, to the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s full satisfaction.

The people behind the radar tower