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Sun June 16 2019

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New LafargeHolcim block picked for €550m Dutch sea defence upgrade

14 Jan A key sea-defence dam in the Netherlands is to be upgraded using LafargeHolcim's latest design of protective concrete blocks.

The new Holcim Basalton Quattroblock is aimed at protecting dykes against strong waves and rising sea water levels.

LafargeHolcim’s contract involves using the block will cover about 700,000m2 of the 32km-long Afsluitdijk.

Rijkswaterstaat, which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management has commissioned the strengthening of the dyke, increasing the discharge capacity and building pumps to transport more water to the Wadden Sea.

Construction of the project began at the end of 2018 and is led by the Levvel consortium of BAM, Van Oord and Rebel. The total construction costs for the project are about €550m (£500m) and the work is due for completion in 2023.

The LafargeHolcim solution will be used on the slope of the dyke and dams. The company said that extensive tests have shown that the new Quattroblock is 40% more stable than the previous Basalton columns. As a result, a relatively low column height could be used in the design of the Afsluitdijk, which has major advantages in terms of durability, costs and practicability among others, it said.

The materials are delivered by sea to avoid additional traffic on the dam. To ensure timely execution, LafargeHolcim’s Solutions & Products division is also investing in the expansion of its Dutch concrete products plant. When completed this year, the expanded plant will be able to produce 1,000t of concrete Quattroblocks a day for customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

“As part of our Strategy 2022 - ‘Building for Growth’ - we have committed to growing the new Solutions & Products segment further,” said region head Europe Marcel Cobuz.

The Afsluitdijk has protected large parts of the Netherlands against flooding from the Wadden Sea since 1932. After more than 85 years, the dyke is now in need of renewal and will be significantly reinforced. Its specifications will eventually enable it to withstand a storm that could occur once in 10,000 years and will also provide protection against rising sea water levels.

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