Relocating dykes on the River Waal

In Nijmegen, The Netherlands, the 'Space for the River Waal' project is underway, where relocation of the dyke and digging a secondary channel will give the Waal locally more space.

An earth moving machine digging the secondary channel
An earth moving machine digging the secondary channel


The grounds of Ploegam in Vinkel, The Netherlands, look empty. That's because all its blue-orange cranes, dumpers and shovels are working on projects. The nearest is in Nijmegen, where work is ongoing to relocate a dyke at the River Waal. Thanks to these measures, flooding in the area will forever become a thing of the past. People and material will move five million cubic metres (180 million cubic feet) of soil in the coming years - that's the equivalent of 250,000 fully loaded trucks.

How Ploegam is managing the workload

Ploegam is a family business. More than 25 years after being established, it has evolved to become a strong and decisive company, which keeps up with themes. Looking back, Chris Ploegam said: “In the beginning, we mainly accepted smaller jobs. The type of work changed, our experience and number of employees grew and we, as contractors, also wanted to become players in contracting public works. Since Ploegam does everything itself - from the maintenance of the machines to lay out, and from measure to writing action plans - it was necessary to invest considerably in knowledge and material."

The past few years were exciting for Ploegam. It has taken substantial risks in order to comply with new contract forms in ground, road and hydraulic engineering, which has placed placing growing and increasing demands on quality and smart, safe and sustainable solutions. Management is fully adapted for that purpose. “Had we not done this, we would have missed out on a project like Space for the River Waal,” according to Chris.

Peg-free, automation and cloudview

Extensive automation makes it possible to maintain control of work processes, both in the office and on projects. In the meantime, the business consists of more than 100 people working from multiple locations and projects, and the work no longer only involves creating manure pits and other relatively small-scale commissions.

Ploegam also works on a Space for the River project in Zwolle and provides the groundwork and a portion of the piping and ground design for a purification facility in Dinxperlo, the province of Gelderland. Surveyors and operators work efficiently (‘peg-free’) thanks to GPS and GLONASS receivers and associated hardware and software which are fitted to the three excavators and shovels.

Implementers and project leaders use registration software to have the current figures available at all times. The Topcon systems also seamlessly integrate into other equipment and software. They can even use the Sitelink3D Enterprise - an 'in-the-cloud' solution - to see and follow the data at the workplace in real time.

“Opportunities are plentiful and more jobs are in view due to mature technologies and capacities of our people," said Chris. "But above all, we need to be able to rely on operating systems serving us at all times. That is certainly the case for us."

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