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Renovation Piet-Hein Tunnel in Amsterdam successfully completed

The Piet Hein tunnel has been reopened at the end of January 2023. The tunnel was closed for nearly nineteen months for renovations. At that time, an alliance between the municipality of Amsterdam, Yunex Traffic and Heijmans lifted it to a higher level. The Piet Hein tunnel was opened in 1997 and is a main artery of the Amsterdam road network. About 30,000 vehicles drive through it every day. The renovation fell within the program ‘Approach Road Tunnels Amsterdam’ (AWA). Existing installations and systems in the tunnel and the control system have been completely renewed and expanded. Major maintenance has also been carried out on the civil and structural parts.

Yunex Traffic was responsible for the renewal of all technical tunnel systems. Think of the fire extinguishing system, lane signalling, traffic detection, but also the operation and control of cameras, the public address system, air quality meters, fans and pressure difference meters between the traffic tube and the escape corridor. Outside the tunnel, work has been done on barriers and the link with the traffic control system, among other things. The contract also included work on the new traffic control centre.

Yunex Traffic used an interactive 3D model of the tunnel, a so-called Digital Twin, to accurately simulate and test the functional behavior of the tunnel beforehand. This reduced costs and lead time and led to greater efficiency. “Prior to the opening, we performed the Site Acceptance Test together with Traffic Control and AWA to ensure that everything worked optimally and stably,” says Renard Kox, technical project manager on behalf of Yunex Traffic. “We then formally delivered the project and handed it over to management and maintenance. The transfer was supervised by being present in Amsterdam every week to discuss the last remaining points and to help the management and maintenance organization on its way.”

The Piet-Hein tunnel now fully complies with the Additional Rules for Road Tunnel Safety Act. The new installations guarantee high availability and safety for users. Read more about the project below.

The installations in the Piet Hein tunnel dating from 1997 no longer meet current standards. “Legislation has changed, so the systems need to be taken to a higher level,” says Renard. “AWA wants more ‘redundancy’ and wants to work in a more modular way, so that there is significantly less hindrance to traffic in future work. The fire resistance must also be increased, the joints and sheet piles must be provided with heat-resistant cladding. The installations have reached the end of their lifespan and are being renovated, according to a design that complies with the legislation and requirements of the municipality.”

Leon outlines the modular construction method: “We define sections that run from emergency exit door to emergency exit door. Each section covers approximately 100 meters and will have its own installation, which is identical to the other installations. So completely modular. The advantage is that there is no consists of several parts and for maintenance, service or repair only one section needs to be switched off, instead of the entire tunnel. The strength is in the repetition, so the quality goes up and everything is easier to maintain. Each section will have its own control box, this is not the cheapest solution if we look at the purchase costs, but in the long term it will be.” Renard adds: “This method is also a blueprint for AWA, as more tunnels are being renovated. Escape doors are available in every tunnel, so sectioning can be done anywhere.” Leon: “In fact, the longer the tunnel, the cheaper it becomes.”

The “Best for Project” approach is used within the project and no “scope split” has been agreed. Renard explains: “With this for each sub-activity, we look at what is best for the project. The field of Siemens Mobility includes matters such as emergency post boxes, lighting, the high-frequency system, lane signalling, traffic detection, cameras, the public address system, air quality meters, fans and differential pressure meters between the traffic tube and the service corridor. The latter system creates overpressure in the service corridor, which is necessary to ensure that no smoke or gas can enter the service corridor in the event of a fire or the escape of gases. That pressure has to be just right, still a lot of work in 1.5 kilometers. The Piet Hein tunnel does not have sliding doors, but swing doors. When opening, these doors must therefore be pushed against the air pressure. To facilitate this, a mechanical opening aid is placed on the doors, an invention that comes from the maritime sector. All installations are located in the service corridor.” In addition to the work i tunnel, work will also take place outside the tunnel Place. Leon sums up: “Think of barrier gates and the link with the VTI (traffic technical installation). Work for the new traffic control center is also part of the approach. The control station is also located near the tunnel, which is a copy of the control station in the traffic control center. The operator therefore monitors and operates in the central traffic control center of the municipality of Amsterdam, with a local back-up control station on the tunnel, in the West service building. This is aready standby location and can be switched on if necessary.”

Yunex Traffic uses an interactive digital tunnel twin. Renard: “This is a 3D model of the tunnel with all the new installations, including the environment. This is linked to the new tunnel control software and the new workstation for operating and monitoring the tunnel, making it possible to create all kinds of scenarios in the renovated tunnel before the renovation tunnel very accurately. This way you can accurately test the functional behavior of the tunnel. This reduces costs, shortens lead time and increases efficiency. We are talking about two phases with the Digital Twin. The first phase is the physical Digital Twin, a control station to which equipment is physically linked. This allows you to test whether the hardware is doing its job properly. It is an interface between the control and the hardware. The second phase is a Digital Twin that simulates the hardware, using the SIMIT software package developed by Siemens. This allows you to perform a virtual boot without hardware, test automation applications in a virtual environment and train tunnel traffic control in a realistic butn the safe environment. So: In phase 1 you physically test one lamp and in phase 2 you can test 100 virtually.” In phase three, there is a test framework for the software. “Connect field equipment to SIMIT and you have a field simulation. The software is therefore linked to the real tunnel. You can also simulate camera images with it. For example, it is possible to see from the perspective of the road user looking at the equipment in the tunnel. It is also possible to see from the camera whether its position is optimal.”

According to Renard, the cooperation within the Yunex Traffic/Heijmans combination is good and pleasant. “Working in an alliance is good and we already know each other in this form of cooperation. We have already done the Koningstunnel together in the same setup. All parties were open and transparent in the story, there was a lot of work pleasure and a great deal of mutual favor. Working Best for Project creates an ideal division of work. For example, Heijmans is responsible for the cables, pipelines and communication systems. We do the VTI and the mechanical installation and system engineering. we step so as an integrator”, says Renard. Leon adds: “We monitor the discussion between the three collaborating parties, whereby there are indeed three different corporate cultures. It is running successfully because we pay a lot of attention to making processes transparent, we provide a lot of information and provide everyone with instructions. It is a matter of signaling and anticipating.”

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