News: Underground spaghetti

Imagine: a construction site right at the heart of Schiphol. Even above ground, that’s no mean feat – after all, the airport has to keep on running all around you. But underground it’s nothing short of an adventure. Look beneath the surface and you will find a spaghetti of cables and pipes. Where on earth do you start?

Published on: 22 May 2019

But, of course, the first question is: why do we need a construction site at the heart of Schiphol? “We are broadening the Ceintuurbaan Zuid viaduct,” explains project manager Peter van Wijk. “That will be the access road to the new terminal, which is also right at the heart of Schiphol, on Havenmeesterweg. So the first step is to make room for that.”

Grey hairs

Quite a challenge! “I always know where my grey hairs come from,” Peter laughs. Things get especially tricky when you are working underground, he reveals. “There’s 100 kilometres of cables and pipes down there. That’s the distance from Amsterdam to Arnhem. Sewer and water pipes, power lines and internet cables, you name it. If we accidentally unplug a cable, the light goes out... or worse.”

A massive achievement

The broader Ceintuurbaan Zuid viaduct needs to be ready for action by the end of 2019. Construction work on Schiphol’s showpiece – the new terminal – will get under way at the start of 2020. Until then, there’s still plenty of hard work to be done on the tight-fit construction site, hemmed in by travellers, buses, taxis and buildings. Peter van Wijk knows what’s at stake: “When it’s all in place, it will be a massive achievement.”