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Controversial Amsterdam metro extension delayed again — at yet higher costs

DutchAmsterdam.nl — There is a new delay in the construction of the controversial North-South line extension of the Amsterdam metro.

The delay is due to the fact that the last few meters of metro station Vijzelgracht must be dug with the help of high air pressure in order to prevent the temporary construction walls from buckling under the pressure of ground water.

Wevershuisjes, Vijzelgracht in Amsterdam

In 2008, the so-called Wevershuisjes — historical monuments — subsided due to construction mistakes in the building of the Metro station Vijzelgracht.
© Copyright DutchAmsterdam.nl. Want to use this photo?

This approach was considered necessary from the very start, but was scrapped in 2004 by then alderman Mark van der Horst as a cost-saving measure. In 2008 several monumental buildings next to the construction site sustained significant damage when ground water broke through the retaining walls. The loss of pressure in the ground water caused the houses to subside.

The latest setback will cost the city an additional EUR 68 million in cost overruns.

The Noord/Zuidlijn project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2011, at a cost of EUR 1.4 billion. A series of mistakes and other setbacks — including a faulty tender process, administrative problems, and shoddy construction work — has by now raised the cost to EUR 3.1 billion. It has also pushed back the expected delivery date to February 2018.

In June last year a special committee concluded that the project should go ahead as planned, as stopping it would costs more than finishing it.

A second committee in December, 2009, slammed the City of Amsterdam saying that the municipality should never have approved the project.

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This post was last updated: Jun. 1, 2014