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It sounds so simple: a company is briefly unreachable due to work in the area. However, as Ben van Hooijdonk, a project manager for ProRail, explains, “if that company is located in the Rotterdam Port area, there’s work going on seven days a week. That’s why we consult with businesses to hear when which closure will affect them the least and adjust our schedule where possible.”

Four crossings

During the weekend of 2 and 3 October, there was such a closure at the entrance of the Europoort site. Contractor DuraVermeer replaced four level crossings for ProRail. Necessary work, but it did mean that the access roads to the site were closed, with the result that businesses on that site would not be accessible and could not transit their arriving freight containers. Staff would not be able to get to and from work either.

Consultation

Ben says, “That’s why ProRail discusses the work to be done well in advance during the Regular Users’ Consultation with stakeholders such as carriers, shippers, companies and the Port of Rotterdam Authority. In their business planning, they then check when work on the tracks will cause the least inconvenience. In this case, companies on the Europoort terrain asked us to cluster these four level crossings, i.e. replace them in a single weekend. In order to optimise the work, it was also decided to replace two sets of points at the same time. It’s better to be inconvenienced once than have a lower level of inconvenience over a longer period of time.” It’s better to be inconvenienced once than have a lower level of inconvenience over a longer period of time.

Infra in Order

Edwin Verkerk, ProRail’s Capacity for Management programme manager, chairs the regular users’ consultation group for Infra in Order. He told us about the practical benefits of this consultation during earlier work in the Port Area. It is specially designed for the projects of the Infra in Order programme. This will speed up the process of putting the infrastructure in order in the Rotterdam Port area. Due to overdue maintenance, these projects had to be carried out this year. Tendering started in mid-2020, and by the end of 2021, over 50 level crossings will have been renewed, 25 points replaced, and many kilometres of track renewed.

Proud

Project manager Ben says, “We are now almost done with all the urgent matters that needed to be done this year. I am proud that we have come this far. It is a huge amount of work in a short time. And the success of these projects hinges on the coordination and cooperation of all those involved.”

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