‘It makes me happy to see people show proactive ownership’

Martijn Kessels

Martijn Kessels had been eyeing the railway station project in Driebergen-Zeist as early as mid-2016, when, just one day before the start of his holiday, he delivered two railway underpasses in Ede for BAM Infra Regionaal. ‘It seemed a wonderful project, and due to the integration of so many disciplines, it came at the right moment in my professional development. And so when I was asked to join the project after my holiday, everything fell into place. Initially I would take my usual role as superintendent, but I ended up being in the lead of of the civil engineering discipline.’

The number of disciplines involved in this project is enough to call it multi-multi-disciplinary. BAM Infra alone is bringing no less than five (Civil Engineering, Roads, Rail and Energy & Water), the design was provided by BAM Infraconsult, and finally BAM Bouw en Techniek is responsible for the structural elements.

Collaboration

‘This project has many fine examples of collaboration. The times when we come to rely on each other most are when we temporarily shut down traffic: each of those gives us a short window to get an awful lot done. This means working 24/7, and it’s just wonderful to see how people from different disciplines go out of their way to help each other. It makes me really happy to see people show that kind of proactive ownership.’

In a nutshell, the project involves a grade separation in which the provincial road passes under the railway, plus a new railway station and forecourt below the tracks, and also an underground bicycle park with a capacity for 3,000 bikes, an extra railway track and a new bus station.

‘While we’re building this, all passenger and traffic streams have to continue unhindered, which means we must fit an enormous amount of phasing and temporary provisions in a wholly unforgiving schedule. This is by far the most difficult job I have encountered in all my 13 years in BAM, a real brain-twister. At the same time, it’s the ideal platform to show what I’m capable of. In the meantime, we’ve begun work on the final construction pit – for the entry to the station forecourt and the bicycle park – and we’ve also completed the concrete works for close to 75 per cent.’

‘Impossible without BIM’

‘Working with a BIM model was an absolute necessity in this project. It’s been immensely helpful in working out the many phases. Without the 3D model I’m sure we would have overlooked things that could have been a likely cause of failure costs.’

Innovations

Martijn is proud to point out a series of innovations, such as the two 140-metre-long pre-stressed railway overpasses, designed to be slid into place lengthwise. Or the application of self-healing concrete in the walls of the bicycle park. ‘We tend to forget sometimes, but we’ve got some very impressive technological feats in this project.’