Meandering Maas River

Project information

 2017 - present 

Country: The Netherlands

Client: Waterschap Aa en Maas 

Project description 

Due to climate change, the amount of water carried by the Maas is increased and therefore the Maas river needs more space. About 25 kilometres of dike between Ravenstein and Lith is unstable or has problems with piping. The need for dike reinforcement spurred redevelopment of the surrounding area of the Meandering Maas into a river nature park with opportunities for nature, recreation, culture, residences and economic development. Combining the dike reinforcement with river widening and area development was a logical approach for Water Board Aa en Maas.

Combining the excavation of the floodplain and dike elevation resulted in a significant sustainability gain. The area-specific soil from the floodplain could be used for the elevation of the dike. New vegetated areas contributed to the compensation of the CO2-emissions from the project’s construction.. The project is a part of the Flood Protection Program (Hoogwaterbeschermingsprogramma, HWBP) and Meerjarenprogramma Infrastructuur, Ruimte en Transport (MIRT Multi-Year Programme for Infrastructure, Space and Transport).

In the first phase of the project, TAUW worked on the HWBP/MIRT exploratory phase The goal was to guide the client in the decision-making process for the area concept plan, promising alternatives, design alternatives and the interprovincial structural concept All milestones were achieved within the tight schedule.

After that, a preferred design was further elaborated in a 3D technical design created in collaboration with Witteveen+Bos. Together with landscape architect, Land-id, the integrated (spatial) design was created and the local stakeholders were consulted.

TAUW also performed the contract management, plan process, project control and planning, conditioning research (soil, water, nature, cultural history and archaeology) and license needed for the project to be realised. The Project Plan Waterwet  (Water Act) and Environmental Impact Report (MER) were coordinated by TAUW.

Innovation and sustainability were very important elements in this project. The piping problem (water flowing underneath the dike taking sand with its flow) was one that required special attention. In the exploratory phase of the project, the piping problem seemed massive. On the dike section Ravenstein-Lith the floodplain is wide and the river meanders quite a bit which impacts the way the subsoil of the dike is affected at high tides. Increased understanding of the water level during high tides to insight into the piping problem. Lacking real time data of the high  TAUW solved this problem by developing a tool which makes use of geohydrological models and information.

With help of the HWBP innovation-subsidy the Water Board and TAUW could design the Geohydrological Approach Piping (GAP) which delivers a cost reduction for the piping problem in Meandering Maas River project.

In this innovative project experts of TAUW, Witteveen+Bos, Advies in Water, Jongejan Risk Management Consulting, Deltares, Rijkswaterstaat and the Water Board collaborated together. The innovative tool developed for this piping project will be adapted for future projects as the Expertise Network Water safety (ENW) has approved this method.

How did the cooperation with the client go? 

For this project a cooperation agreement was signed by the Engineering team ‘Meanderende Maas’ (lMM) which consists of members from the organisations Witteveen+Bos, TAUW and Land-id. The Engineering team worked together with the 10 area including: Water Board Aa en Maas, the provinces of North Brabant and Gelderland, Ministry of lnfrastructure and Water management, Rijkswaterstaat, Natuurmonumenten, Waterboard Rivierenland and the townships Oss, Wijchen and West Maas and Waal.

The philosophy for this project was ‘best for the project’ which led to a constructive and intensive collaboration. The foundation of the collaboration is equality between the partners involved. The Engineering team focused on what really mattered while integrating technology, participation from stakeholders and decision-making.

In the exploratory phase, TAUW performed a role as leader and later switched to  a supporter in the plan development phase (except for the plan products). We advise our partners, provided our opinions and accepted if the plan deviated from the original one while still valuing our partners. Waterboard Aa en Maas complimented TAUW for this collaborative approach.

“The project is complex in the collaboration because the ten administrative partners each have their own interests, goals, systems and cash flows. We are a pioneer in combining all these interests and it has worked very well. The driving force is that everyone embraces the opportunities in this project.” - Tim Smit, manager environment Water Board Aa en Maas

The results

In collaboration with the IPM-members of the Water Board, the Engineering team first succeeded in delivering a design alternative (VKA). The VKA is affordable and achievable within the complex context and set milestones of the project and accepted by all the partners. The next step was to make the pre-design (VO) and final design (DO) of the dike strengthening and area development. In the coming months, the Engineering team will work on making a design while involving the local stakeholders in work sessions, and so-called “kitchen table conversations and dike table (dijktafel) meetings”. After the decision-making process the permits will be applied for and the construction work can start.

The construction activities will start in mid-2023. The dike reinforcement will be completed by 2025 and the whole project has a 2028 deadline. The result will be a strong Maas dike with good spatial quality, a beautiful meandering Maas River with more open space.

Due to the integral approach of this project a sustainable and liveable dike with space for the river water and natural area with recreational and cultural possibilities will be created for the 270.000 people living in the Ravenstein-Lith area. Through collaboration with all partners involved innovative solutions were created and costs have been reduced. This connects with our TAUW goals to be complete, integral, sustainable and participate when working on improving our living environment.

By separating the substantive and contractual discussions, the project could always move forward, no matter what was going on. This way of working was efficient, enjoyable and contributed to the philosophy of ‘best for project.’ Within this project we worked to utilise and maximise the strength of each organisation. The best professionals within the organisation and those with the highest level of knowledge worked on a specific task. This gave each organisation confidence and trust in doing the best for this project and led to a high satisfaction by the Water Board on our support, quality assurance, expertise and flexibility.

Furthermore, TAUW received praise from the Water Board c for the our use  and implantation of IT facilities in the project.

“We combined knowledge from four different worlds: geotechnics, geohydrology, geology and statistical probability. We had to be clever and cooperate intensively to come to a useful method. We had to speak the same language to come to a solution. Innovation is communication.” Martine Brinkhuis, project manager GAP


Do you have a question about this project?

Please get in contact with one of our consultants