Royal passage

22 January 2018 13:18

The Groene Woud (Green Forest) is located in the heart of the province of Noord-Brabant. A unique sequence of interconnected nature reserves: Kampina, de Mortelen, de Scheeken and the Dommel river valley. The railway connection between Eindhoven and Boxtel goes right through this area. To enable animals to safely travel from one nature reserve to the next, ProRail has commissioned the construction of a new ecoduct: the ‘De Mortelen’ nature bridge, a passage where wildlife can safely cross the railway.

‘De Mortelen’ ecoduct
If the living areas of plant and animal species are made smaller, e.g. by the presence of a road or a railroad, this may have dramatic consequences for the flora and fauna. Plants and animals are pushed back ever further into small, isolated areas. This jeopardises the survival of quite a few species of animals locally.

King of the Forest
‘We mainly expect red deer to use the ecoduct. Some 12 to 15 red deer were released into the area last year. The construction of the ecoduct will expand the living area of the red deer - also called the King of the Forest,’ said Raimond Reijnders, a project leader with BAM Infra.

‘But other animals, such as badger, roe deer, crested newts, blindworms, lizards and tree frogs will also cross. We design and construct this special royal passage. The ecoduct will be covered entirely in plants and will be located in this unique protected nature reserve.’

Ecological ponds
‘BAM Infra will also take care of the ecological setup of the landscape. These activities consist of digging ecological ponds for the protected crested newt and frogs and planting 100 new trees and bushes. Fences, cattle grids, passages for the public, work gates, fauna fences and facilities for deer to jump back into protected area will also be installed.’

Start event
The work concerning the Natuurbrug De Mortelen ecoduct started this month. The official starting ceremony is planned for 22 February. The 52-hour out-of-service period - needed to install the girders - is planned for the weekend of 6 to 9 July 2018. It is expected that the red deer will be able to cross the ecoduct in late 2018.