Major project: Groningen Ring Road

Major project: Groningen Ring Road

Combinatie Herepoort is the construction consortium carrying out the reconstruction of the Groningen ring road. Wagenborg Nedlift has been involved in the project since the start in 2018. Project manager Harry Oudman, work planner Rick Kleiverda and supervisor Jan Dinkla talk about 5 years of the Ring Road South Project.

Double check

'If there's an emergency, I'm the first one there. I go there, see what's going on and solve the problem. These words sum up the work of work planner Rick Kleiverda. "That's the beauty of working on the Ring Road. So close, literally around the corner from the office. If I'm not sure, or if I want to know something, I go and take a look and measure again. The great thing about Wagenborg is that you have so much freedom to develop.”


And Rick should know. A few years ago he started as a trainee operator and later became a flexible crane operator for small and large cranes. Something he loved to do, also for the variety. 

Rick Kleiverda
Rick Kleiverda


In 2021, Rick moved to work planning. As a work planner, he is responsible for all types of lifting jobs. He was introduced to the jobs being carried out on the Ring. Most of the jobs were on the underground part of the Ring and the Julianaplein. When he was still working on a crane, Rick could be found there on a regular basis. This proved to be an advantage because the contacts had already been made. 'You have to be sure of yourself in this job. At my age I really had to prove myself. Now I've built up enough credit and it's a good group of people to work with.'

'When something needs to be done, it's often 'why don't you call Rick'

Rick Kleiverda, Work planner

Circular construction

Rick looks back on a few jobs: "Lifting the concrete girders to replace the old viaduct and removing the abutments on the Paterswoldseweg were nice jobs. Not many people know that the concrete girders from the old ring road in Groningen were recycled in a viaduct in Hoenderloo".


In the approach to the southern ring road, circular construction is a high priority. Many of the old construction materials, such as noise barriers, guide rails or bridge components, will be reused. Materials that cannot be reused will be recycled. In the most ideal scenario, they will even be upcycled. This is a process by which materials are incorporated into a new product, maintaining or improving the quality of the material. "And you know what's funny? Everything we have removed and replaced, Harry helped to build in the first place," concludes Rick.

Harry Oudman
Harry Oudman

Closing the circle

Harry and the Ring are inseparably linked. His career at Wagenborg (then Lommerts) began more than 40 years ago. He started as a seasonal worker and trainee and developed with the company. During his internship he worked on the construction of the Groningen ring road.


It is quite special that 40 years later he is involved in the ring road again. As Business Unit Manager Projects, he returned to the Ring Road South project in 2018. In the meantime, he has worked on many projects.


He fell in love with the assembly work. "I just love working together. During my internship at the technical school for civil engineering, I worked with the contractor who was building part of the Ring Road", he says. "And Lommerts was contracted to position the concrete girders. We worked from the Europaweg to the bridge over the Eems canal.


"We started by renting cranes on the southern ring road. Then we received more project-related enquiries. For example, the logistics of sheet piling for an underground site. Haitsma Beton asked us to lift all the precast concrete beams. And that's how we got the contract to replace the Euvelgunner bridge," Harry recalls.


The match with clients

"The guiding principle is that we support all the projects we take on from start to finish. For example, we placed a complete viaduct near the Gasunie building with our SPMTs.


Working together with clients, supervisors and project managers is what makes this work enjoyable. You feel welcome at Combinatie Herepoort. They never leave empty-handed: we do everything for them. That's the beauty of working together for many years. It doesn't matter if you have to work all day in the rain, you are part of the construction team. That's only possible when you're there with these people, you create a bond.


It also clicks, because at Combinatie Herepoort they get on with it. They roll up their sleeves just like us. It can be quite a challenge to build in a city centre under time pressure. But the challenge makes it great," says Harry.


In 2021, Harry moves into the role of project manager. The young guard will take over. "The human factor and the sense of belonging are typical of Wagenborg. I also feel very much at home in sister companies such as Wagenborg Stevedoring. We are a real family business. I was given every opportunity and the chance to develop. I want others to be able to develop as well. When I retire, there should not be a gap. Sometimes you shadow them, sometimes you leave them to it, and sometimes you have to steer a bit."

'It is important to give them freedom and then you can let them go more and more. That's how you see them all grow.'

Harry Oudman, Senior Project Manager


Jan Dinkla confirms Harry's story. He is also working on the ring road. He has progressed from supervisor to work planner and is aiming to become a project manager. Harry and Jan worked together on the replacement of the Euvelgunner bridge.

Jan Dinkla
Jan Dinkla

Jan is pleased with what he has learned from Harry. "The opportunities you get from Harry are really important for your development. He gives you free rein, but keeps an eye on everything. And he comes to the rescue before you get stuck.


I learn a lot from working with Harry because he's like a walking encyclopaedia. And the way he looks ahead, you really learn from that. Like the way he is thinking. In the office that starts with proposals and work planning. He's always ahead of the game because that helps to prevent certain issues."

Euvelgunner Bridge Project

"The Euvelgunner bridge is a challenging project," says Jan. "It involved about a year of preparation. We had to replace the bridge decks, the moving mechanism and the ballast cases.


Replacing the heavy moving mechanism of the bridge was a jigsaw puzzle. The working area in the two concrete basements was only a few tens of square metres, with no room for cranes or other conventional equipment.


The old bridge mechanism is a collection of steel structures, gears and counterweights that allow the bridge deck to be raised when ships need to pass underneath. Some parts are metres long and weigh tens of thousands of kilos, including the ballast cases, each of which weighs 140 tonnes. They're housed in two concrete bascule cellars near the bridge, one for each of the decks."

Lifting operation Euvelgunner Bridge


Rick, Harry and Jan share the same view about the excellent cooperation with Combinatie Herepoort and the companies they work with on the Ring. As they say, the cooperating parties have a lot in common. Safety is perhaps the most important.


"This is also the most important change compared to 40 years ago. Essentially, the work has remained the same. The only major changes have been in terms of safety, working conditions and equipment. The work has become much safer, and nowadays much more preparation is needed before the work can be done at all."

'Combinatie Herepoort prioritises safety, and that fits us very well'

Harry Oudman, Senior Project Manager

Aanpak Ring Zuid

Aanpak Ring Zuid is the large-scale reconstruction of Groningen's southern ring road. This main gateway to the city is in danger of silting up as a result of Groningen's rapid growth. The reconstruction of the southern ring road will improve accessibility, traffic flow, quality of life and safety.

Combinatie Herepoort

Combinatie Herepoort is the consortium that is carrying out the reconstruction of the southern ring road. It consists of two German and three Northern companies. The Herepoort consortium consists of Max Bögl Nederland BV, Züblin Nederland BV, Oosterhof Holman Infra BV (Grijpskerk), Koninklijke Sjouke Dijkstra BV (Leek) and Roelofs Wegenbouw BV (Den Ham).

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