The Dutch highway A9 Gaasperdammerweg between junctions Holendrecht and Diemen will be expanded. The road will get five traffic lanes on both sides and a reversible lane. Part of the road will be in a tunnel. The contractor combination IXAS is going to execute this mega project. Technolution designs, constructs and tests the ICT environment for the controlling of the Tunnel Technical Installations (TTI). A first in the Netherlands: the central controls of the tunnel are completely reliant on software.
A unique tunnel
With a length of three kilometers this new tunnel is the longest tunnel on land in the Netherlands. The tunnel will have five tubes: two tubes with five traffic lanes for the A9, a reversible tube and the access and exit roads to the urban road network. There will also be a park on the roof. All these aspects make the A9 tunnel a unique and huge project. The same applies to the technical installations for traffic management, lighting, ventilation and security.
Safety through technology
The TTI is crucial for the safety in the tunnel. Via sensors and cameras the traffic center in Velsen will monitor the tunnel throughout the entire day and night. During incidents, like a breakdown or smoke in the tunnel, the system will automatically take precautions. The overarching control layer coordinates issues such as the right ventilation thrust of the tubes, data exchange with the traffic control installations of the city, and the safety-critical functions within the tunnel.
Controls with software
The secured coordination of the traffic in the tunnel also requires quite a lot from the technology and the functionality of the central controls. Traditionally, the central controls of tunnels are supported by PLCs (programmable logic controllers), that are controlled via a graphical user interface (SCADA). For this more complex IXAS project, the system would have to be able to process a lot of interactions in a short time. PLCs are simply not fast enough. Technolution has therefore designed an ICT environment for the central controls of the TTI. Such a software-based solution has never been used in this branch before.
Ready to be tested
The design of the ICT environment was given the go-ahead by IXAS after a successful proof of concept early in 2015. Now the software is ready to be tested; six months before the installation of hardware. For this purpose, we have founded a test center in Delft that simulates the ICT environment as if it was running in the traffic center in Velsen. The tests will be executed in the summer of 2017. The system will be expected to be connected to the TTI early in 2018. After that, new tests will be required. The tunnel will be opened for use in 2020.
- Danny Vroemen
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