Waal Project Reduces Flood Risk in Nijmegen Area

Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) and Hubert Bruls, Mayor of Nijmegen, pulled a life-size thumb out of a dyke yesterday to illustrate the fact that the River Waal now has more room around Nijmegen.

As a result, the water level of the river has dropped by 34 centimeters.

The Nijmegen Room for the Waal project is one of the largest projects being realized within the framework of Rijkswaterstaat’s national Room for the River flood risk management program.

By widening the river, the risk of Nijmegen and the surrounding upriver area becoming flooded, today or in the future, has been considerably reduced.

The Waal takes a sharp bend near Nijmegen and becomes narrower, forming a bottleneck. At times of high water, the river could not cope with the volume of water. To protect residents from flooding, the dyke has been moved 300 meters inland and a 4-kilometer-long secondary channel has been dug. This has created an island in the center of the city.

Three new bridges connect the island to Nijmegen-Noord.

The work started in January 2013. Fifty households had to be relocated as a result of the flood risk management measures.

Minister Schultz said: “A unique urban river park has been created in Nijmegen: the Spiegelwaal and the Veur Lent island are part of a plan in which flood risk management and urban quality go hand in hand. In the 1995 flooding, Nijmegen residents were up to their neck in water. Now, the Waal can cope with a similar volume of water with no problem at all. Nijmegen is prepared for future high water levels caused by climate change.”

Special components of the Room for the Waal project:

  • Secondary channel: 4 kilometers long, 200 meters wide, 8 meters deep measured in respect of the ground level of the flood plain, 14 meters deep measured in respect of the height of the quay and the dyke;
  • Waterproof cut-off wall to prevent the seepage situation in Lent from worsening, 1.6 km long, 20 meters deep, 80 cm wide;
  • Unique island in the Waal with potential as an urban river park in the centre of Nijmegen with room for living, recreation, nature and culture;
  • Existing railway bridge columns: a reinforcing wall around the three columns of the Spoorbrug (railway bridge dating from 1880); 23 meters deep and 1.5 meters wide;
  • New dyke as well as a new quay of 1.2 kilometres in length;
  • Three new bridges for access to and from the Veur Lent island;
  • Archaeological and cultural-historical activities in the oldest city of the Netherlands with traces from Roman times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and World War II.

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