Of course, we have been doing the pre-construction work on part of the concrete roof of the new Brittenpassage, the extra passageway under the soon to be fully renovated Amsterdam Zuid station, for some time now. In Arnold Schönberglaan, the monster is mostly hidden behind the Streets of the World exhibition. It is a concrete surface around 70 m long, 12 m wide and 2 m thick, weighing more than 3 million kg. This piece of concrete will not only form part of the Brittenpassage roof, but will also be the surface across which the trains will soon be running. During Whitsun weekend, the plan is to shift it to its final destination: under what is currently platforms 2 and 3. But quite a lot needs to happen before we get that far.
Five weekends for a slab of concrete?
During Whit weekend (8-10 June 2019), we will be putting the first part of the roof of the new Brittenpassage into position. But this mammoth task will be affecting travellers from as early as Friday, 10 May 2019. So what is all the work that needs to be done?
First of all, there is the tunnel that runs under the track and the motorway, used by tram number 51 until early March 2019. This Amstelveen line is already no longer in use, but the tunnel still needs to be demolished, because it is located exactly where Brittenpassage needs to be. The first section was already demolished in the weekend of 6 and 7 April. In the weekends of 11-12 and 18-19 May, we will be continuing this task. Part of the demolition is being done by what is known as a ‘woodpecker’, a hydraulic demolition hammer, which will be audible in the local area. It will be deployed on Saturdays, during the days and evenings until 23.00 at the latest. The rest of the demolition work, which is expected to cause less noise nuisance, will be done in the night of Saturday/Sunday and during the day on Sunday.
The most intrusive work will involve laying the foundations for this first roof section for the Brittenpassage. In positioning the foundations, we need to go diagonally across the dyke where the A10 and the rail track are located. In order to prevent the concrete colossus from giving way during the process of insertion, the foundations need to be put in place first, underneath the A10 and the track. This will require the removal of around 100 m of asphalt and track in the places where the foundation piles will go. The work will be done on four consecutive weekends. This will therefore involve removing the asphalt and track each time, excavating a part of the dyke and driving the foundation piles into the ground. We will replace the asphalt and track at the end of each weekend, to enable the road and railway to be used again from 05.00 each Monday morning. This will be happening in the weekends of 11-12 May, 18-19 May, 25-26 May and 1-2 June.
On the foundation piles, we will then be building very sturdy concrete structures (so-called foundation blocks and abutments). These not only need to be strong enough to take the weight of the roof, but also to carry the trains that will run over platforms 2 and 3. This is a very heavy structure, which means the whole site will need to be reopened again. We will be doing this in the weekends of 25-26 May and 1-2 June.
The big event
The big event will follow during Whit weekend. In the night of 8 and 9 June, we will shift the concrete slab into position. This promises to be quite a spectacular event. We would like to make it possible for anyone interested to witness it live. More information on that will follow.
Far from completed
This means that the job should have been finished by 05.00 on the morning of Tuesday, 11 June. But this does not mean that the Brittenpassage will be completed by then. This is only the first section of the roof. There will need to be more roof sections under the other train tracks and under the metro tracks. The plan is to put a second section of the roof into position at the end of this year (underneath platform 4). We will do this from the construction site between the train and metro tracks. We will also be building and positioning part of the Brittenpassage in 2020. We will return to that in due course.
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Closures and diversions
Work on the first roof section for the Brittenpassage will be concentrated in the next five weekends. We are doing this in order to affect as few travellers as possible and to prevent a longer period of inconvenience. Despite that, there will certainly be a noticeable level of inconvenience in this busy area. In addition to potential noise nuisance, during these five weekends, we will also be closing the A4 and A10 Zuid from the Badhoevedorp junction. There will also be no trains running to and from Amsterdam Zuid and RAI stations.