Project Managers direct projects. They retain overall supervision. They communicate, consult and are indispensable for producing results. Geert Vanwesenbeeck is such a director, this time for the Prince Hendrik Zanddijk in Texel.
As part of one of the biggest dike reinforcement operations in the Netherlands ever, we, Belgians, were awarded a project in Texel, in the country of competitors such as Boskalis and Van Oord. “This is already a prestigious achievement”, smiles Geert. But there is much more that makes the director proud of his project.
Texel is one of five Frisian Islands, off the Frisian coast. The Wadden Sea is a natural monument, and has been awarded Unesco World Heritage status. Not only is it a crucial resting place and foraging area for birds on their migration routes between north and south, but it has with unique flora and is also the ideal habitat for thousands of seals. “So, it was no surprise that we had to meet several ecological conditions”, says Geert. “In this project, we even take it a few steps further: we will, for instance, plant a field with sea grass, transplant a salt marsh (an overgrown strip of land accretion outside the dike that in average high water conditions is no longer flooded) and plant beach grass and buckthorn. Besides, Texel is given a special form of dike reinforcement: for the Prince Hendrik Zanddijk, we will create a safety dune as water barrier in the Wadden Sea.
Between July 2018 and January 2019, the Bartolomeu Dias will dredge 5.5 million m³ of sand for the new safety dune and connected nature area. “What makes this project special, is that we remain responsible for its maintenance for a period of 5 years and thus very accurately take numerous sand samples in both sand extraction areas. Also during the actual dredging works, we will monitor the grains of each hopper to make sure the right grains of sand end up on the right place. This is crucial. In this context, the GIS portal is of immense value. Not only for monitoring the grains of sand; parameters such as sand drift, ground- and surface water and the ecological development of the nature area are closely monitored in this platform through 27 KPIs. “
In future, residents of Texel will be able to live, work and relax safely on the island. As a good proactive director, Geert communicates and consults with the residents about the works. “Obviously, everything will be done together with the residents of Texel, to their benefit and limiting any disturbance to the least possible. As for any disturbance, I will be able to check on it myself because as from this summer I will start living with my family on this special and beautiful island.”