The Netherlands: Sand Engine Project Starts

The Sand Engine project, an innovative approach to coastal reinforcement, will be commencing today along the coastline of the Dutch Province of Zuid-Holland. The project will involve extending the coast into the sea, making it safer and creating a new conservation and recreational area. The Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment, Joop Atsma, joined provincial executive councillor Lenie Dwarshuis this afternoon in Ter Heijde to mark the start of the Sand Engine project, which will make the Netherlands a safer, bigger and lovelier place.

The Sand Engine project will involve depositing 21.5 million m3 of sand in the sea in the shape of a hook that rises above the water line. The base of the hook will be connected to the coastline at Ter Heijde. Wind, waves and ocean currents will gradually distribute the sand along the coast. ‘Building with nature’ in this way will ensure natural sand suppletion, so that the coastline grows. The Sand Engine project will therefore help protect the coast and create new land for conservation and recreational purposes at the same time. In addition, it will also be financially advantageous: once it is constructed, it will no longer be necessary to deposit sand every five years in order to continue protecting the coast. ‘Much of the Netherlands is below sea level. That is one reason why the Dutch are the best marine engineers in the world. To safeguard our coast, we have spent decades searching for new ways to protect ourselves against floods. In this project, we have made the sea our ally,’ said Mr Atsma.

Schedule

The sand suppletion work will be finished by October 2011. It will take at least five years before the all the sand has been dispersed along the coast in the form of beaches and dunes.

Costs

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is responsible for the engineering. The Van Oord-Boskalis consortium will do the actual land reclamation work. The Province of Zuid-Holland is responsible for managing the area. The national government will contribute EUR 58 million to the cost of the project, and the Province EUR 12 million.

Source: vanoord, January 19, 2011

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