Global interest in insertion of tunnel section under Amsterdam Central underground station

31 May 2011

Works carried out by the Strukton/Van Oord contractors' team at Amsterdam Central Station attracted a host of observers this morning. A tunnel element was lowered and inserted under a historical building for the first time ever. The event is part of the construction of Amsterdam's North-South underground line. Experts from all over the world were on the spot to watch the scene.


The arrival of this first section of the tunnel concludes complex preparations over a period of nine years. Three thousand wooden piles have been removed from under the station and replaced by a kind of concrete table that now bears the central section of the historical building. Underneath this a so-called lowering trench has been dug as a temporary canal to provide room for the tunnel section.

The tunnel section has impressive dimensions: it is 136 metres long, 22 metres wide and weighs 20,000 tonnes. It left the Suezhaven early this morning for a specially constructed lock in the IJ behind the Central Station, where it arrived in the course of the morning. The section was subsequently rotated in the right direction and carefully hauled into the excavation trench. It will ultimately take around six weeks before the tunnel section is fully in place.

Amsterdam Executive Board Member for Transport Eric Wiebes of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) termed the arrival of the first of a total of four tunnel sections making the link with the North an exceptional step. He said that inserting tunnel sections was a Dutch speciality. ‘But we do it even better in Amsterdam by doing it under a historical building. It currently still takes you three-quarters of an hour to travel from North to Albert Cuyp for example. That is just as far as when you have to travel from Amstelveen South. Soon you will be there within a few minutes by underground.'

An animated video of the insertion and immersion of this tunnel section:


A video on the preparations made for the insertion of this tunnel section: