Afsluitdijk renovations to cost €400 mil. more due to errors gov't knew about: report
The renovations to the Afsluitdijk are taking three years longer and costing some 400 million euros more than initially planned due to calculation errors the government knew about before the renovations started, according to reports by the Volkskrant and De Telegraaf.
The renovations to the Netherlands' world-famous dike started in 2019 with an amount of about 550 million euros set aside for it. The plan was that the work would be finished this year - around the dike's 90th anniversary next week. But in May last year, then Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen informed parliament that the renovations wouldn't be done until 2025 and would cost at least 120 million euros more due to errors made with the "hydraulic preconditions."
According to the Volkskrant, the public works department RIjkswaterstaat overlooked crucial information about water levels and wave heights, not considering a scenario in which high waves can arise in the IJsselmeer at relatively low water levels. Rijkswaterstat noticed that "technical risk" in May 2018 - eleven months before the renovations started. In June 2019, more than a year later, Van Nieuwenhuizen called it a "recently" discovered error.
In May last year, the Minister informed parliament that the renovations would cost at least 120 million euros more. But in the autumn of 2020, Rijkswaterstaat already expected 263 million euros in extra costs, according to documents the Volkskrant got through the Open Government (Public Access) Act. Sources told De Telegraaf that this amount has since increased to 400 million euros.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Rijkswaterstaat refused to comment on the amount to the Volkskrant. The current Infrastructure Minister, Mark Harbers, will inform parliament about the matter on Monday - after a year of radio silence.
Rob Nijsse, professor of structural engineering at TU Delft, told the Volkskrant that Rijkswaterstaat has lost its grip on large projects. Driven by belief in the market, the public works department replaced its engineers with process managers. "It is not painful but disconcerting that Rijkswaterstaat made a mistake with dyke reinforcement," he said\.