Asphalt that lasts five times longer than conventional asphalt and self-healing concrete are just some of the new technologies that TU Delft is researching. Now the provincial authorities of Noord-Holland and TU Delft are putting these technologies through their paces in the real world. The aim of the partnership is to speed up testing time and promote the widespread application of successful infrastructure innovations.

Good accessibility is key for economic growth. It is also a condition for participation in the jobs market and social events. The province of Noord-Holland is investing in accessibility by building new roads and by managing and maintaining existing infrastructure. The provincial authorities are looking for new technologies which will make the construction, management and maintenance of roads and bridges faster, more efficient, cheaper, sustainable and safer. TU Delft is developing exactly those technologies, which have been proven on paper and are now to show their effectiveness in practice. ‘It is important for the province to invest in innovative, smart and clean solutions when building and maintaining roads to improve accessibility and safety. We want to be a pioneering province in this respect. That is why we are investing in promising pilots for innovative techniques for building traffic infrastructure. If the pilots work out well we aim to apply these techniques on a wide scale,’ says provincial representative for Mobility in Noord Holland Elisabeth Post.

Multiannual programme

On Wednesday October 11 the Noord Holland provincial authorities and TU Delft signed the ‘Infra Innovation programme’ covenant. In the next few years TU Delft, the province of Noord-Holland and businesses will be working together on projects involving innovations in the manufacture of concrete, steel and asphalt. Dura Vermeer, for example, will partner a project for the development of a type of asphalt which will last five times longer than conventional asphalt. Apart from the financial advantages, the low-maintenance asphalt means fewer disruptions to traffic. It will also cut down on raw materials. Basilisk and Ooms construction are currently involved in testing the use of self-healing concrete based on limestone producing bacteria in a bridge near Monnickendam.

The cooperation and knowledge-sharing between educational and scientific institutions, science, government and businesses creates a playing field in which new and innovative technologies can be developed and tested faster and on a wider scale. ‘Putting these technologies to the test is very important for TU Delft. It provides scientists with a chance to validate the knowledge they have gathered, says Bert Geerken, dean of the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The province of Noord-Holland helps TU Delft by providing sufficient testing locations in the province and liaising with businesses. These businesses, such as construction firms and construction materials companies, participate and invest on a project-by-project basis.