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An enormous project with huge impact

Approximately four million cubic meters of earth moved, 30 kilometers of new quays and dikes, 45 kilometers of creeks, 26 mounds, 35 bridges, 60 hydrological engineering constructions and 50 houses and sheds to be demolished: the figures of the Noordwaard depoldering project, an area located in the Biesbosch National Park in the southern part of the Netherlands, are almost beyond human comprehension. It is an enormous project, with huge impact.

Dry Feet
The Noordwaard Polder will be flooded and reclaimed by nature across a length of ten kilometers and a width of five kilometers. This is required to ensure that residents in the vicinity are able to keep their feet dry. The water level of the nearby Merwede River will drop by no less than 30 centimeters, decreasing future risks of flooding. This reclamation is one of the largest projects in the national ‘Room for the River’ program, set in motion due to global warming and the subsequent rising of water levels.

Enormous Operation
In the Noordwaard polder, Martens en Van Oord is responsible for the earthmoving, demolishing the buildings and clearing and planting about 75 hectares of forest; an enormous operation. As much soil as possible is reused elsewhere in the polder, in order to limit unnecessary transport movement and environmental disruption.

Communicating Respectfully
The reclamation is a multi-year project that will have significant impact on the local residents. Farmlands are being redeveloped into nature and recreation areas, and people have to get used to this idea. Farmers who worked on their fields are now moving elsewhere or placing their farm and houses on a mound to ensure they are not flooded during high water. For Martens en Van Oord this means communicating carefully and respectfully with all stakeholders.

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