Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bridge repairs in practice – PhDs learn to think differently

Bridge repairs in practice – PhDs learn to think differently

The morning of Friday 27 April was the moment of truth for the PhDs in the STW Perspectief programme IS2C (Integral Solutions for Sustainable Construction). In the final workshop they had visited the Nijkerkerbrug, which is showing signs of wear. The problem is that from the outside the degree of wear is not visible. Do the pillars have to be investigated? Does the bridge deck have to be removed to look at the concrete underneath? And what will the budget be?

These are the dilemmas that the manager of the bridge, Rijkswaterstaat, also faces. For the PhDs the question was how, with a limited budget and an eye for social problems such as traffic chaos, they would tackle the problem of repairing the bridge.

Due to the short amount of time available and relative unfamiliarity with the subject, the PhDs did not tackle the problem in too much detail. However, Jaap Bakker, Infrastructure Service of Rijkswaterstaat was enthusiastic: ‘For me, it was a very instructive workshop. I noticed that the students start to think differently and that is exactly the aim of the IS2C programme. We bring different disciplines together and they come up with a joint solution. I am pleased with the input.’

At the end of the workshop Hans Vos revealed the actual conditions for Rijkswaterstaat: the bridge must be repaired with a budget of €9 million before 2015. So the job needs to be done quite quickly in view of the bridge’s condition. Vos said to the PhDs: ‘I’ve learnt a lot today. I hope that you will come back quickly to motivate your recommendations by doing further research on the bridge.’

For further information about the research please contact the programme leader professor Eddy Koenders, Delft University of Technology,






the PhDs examine the wear to the Nijkerkerbrug