Gasunie commissioned Visser & Smit Hanab to lay the southern section of a 90-kilometre-long gas transport pipeline stretching from Beverwijk (North Holland) to the Wijngaarden compressor station (South Holland). This pipeline has a diameter of 1.22 metres (48”) and is necessary to ensure that natural gas transport capacity remains sufficient to meet future demand.
The southern section of the pipeline route (LOT 3), some 31 kilometres in length, features a variety of junctions, with such crossings as rivers, motorways, provincial roads, railway lines and other transport pipes. Furthermore, the ground in this section of the pipeline route that Visser & Smit Hanab is working on consists chiefly of damp peat. Consequently, the pipeline was constructed by means of a succession of drill holes. The project entailed 20 instances of horizontal directional drilling (HDD), including 1 instance of arch drilling. The overall length of the 20 drillings is close to 20 kilometres (19,917 metres). In addition to the horizontal directional drillings, the project also involved another four instances of shield tunnelling (sealed front) and two instances of rocket drilling. In total, Visser & Smit Hanab constructed some 25 kilometres of pipeline without trenches.
Drilling was chosen because digging trenches is difficult in areas like this, as groundwater seeps into them. This would have meant having to drain a considerable volume of water from the area. This can result in the compaction of large sections of the peat, to the detriment of agriculture. The chosen method not only leaves the groundwater level largely intact, but also prevents heavy machinery from damaging the soil structure when driving over it.