Arie Bleijenberg MSc
- asset management
Infrastructure is vital to both society and the economy. The quality is coming under pressure due to ageing, more and heavier traffic and climate change. To properly maintain our infrastructure and keep it affordable, TNO has joined Rijkswaterstaat and TU Delft in the 'InfraQuest' expertise centre, a partnership for new, cutting edge solutions for road construction and civil engineering structures.
Improving, innovating, assembling and developing knowledge is the crux of this cooperative venture between TNO, TU Delft and Rijkswaterstaat. To develop knowledge and innovative, future-geared solutions we cluster the three approaches that characterise the three organisations: scientific research, applied knowledge and practical knowledge.
The traffic intensity on motorways is increasing while roads and bridges continue to age. This leads to stern challenges in the most dense road network in the European Union. Within InfraQuest we investigate and innovate the infrastructure in six programme lines. For asset management, for instance, we develop models and systems to predict the behaviour of roads and structures as well as research road structures that wear less, comply with environmental requirements and use alternative materials. Existing structures like bridges, viaducts, tunnels and locks that were largely constructed in the 1960s and 1970s are approaching the end of the lifetimes for which they were designed. So we are developing an assessment method for these structures, taking account of the development of load and strength over time as well as changing safety philosophies. The results serve as the basis for taking responsible decisions on replacement or reinforcement.
The new assessment and inspection methods give us better insight into the function of structures and how we can equip them to counter climate changes. Sometimes dams and dikes take on new functions for multiple use of the space. And given the changing requirements of clients and legislators, we test new materials for roads and civil engineering structures with a view to preparing them for application in new situations: with different properties and behaviours, sustainable and safe.