Things stayed quiet in Haps for a long time
It was no coincidence that pupils of the De Bongerd primary school played a central role in the official opening of the new N264 ring road in Haps. Their school yard borders on what used to be the main road through the town. However, the new ring road has now made their way to school and their way home safer.
The opening event consisted of the clients, i.e. Municipal Councillor Gerard Stoffels and Christophe van der Maat, Executive Delegate for the Province of Noord-Brabant, each coaching a relay race team that consisted of pupils of the primary school. One might say that this relay race was symbolic of the former traffic situation in the town, seeing how much trouble it took the children to quickly complete the track consisting of a sack race, cross country skiing, and an actual assault course.
New life in the town centre
To add even more symbolism to the opening event, the children unveiled two trees with benches. The province and the municipality have donated these trees to the residents of Haps, under the motto: ‘new life in the town centre’.
Provincial executive delegate Christophe van der Maat: ‘Through traffic has been able to use the new road since 21 December 2017, so they don't have to go through the town centre of Haps anymore. We have thus greatly improved circulation on the N264 provincial road which helps reduce the daily traffic jams at the connection with the A73. But what I find even more important is that this really improves safety and the quality of life in the town.’
Municipal Councillor Gerard Stoffels: ‘A ring road around Haps was already being discussed in 1953. As the Municipal Executive, we still had to fight hard to get enough support for it. This has made me a very happy councillor.’
Jeffrey van der Putten, contract manager with BAM Infra: ‘After the tender was awarded in 2016, it remained quite uncertain until August 2017 as to whether we would be able to open the road to traffic before Christmas. This was because some land had not been procured yet. But in spite of the delayed start, we managed to complete the project in good time and this makes us, the project team, very proud.’
Although Haps is a small town with just under 3,000 residents, this project shows how a large building company can have an equally large and positive impact. We already minimized any extra pressure on the town centre by making sure that the building traffic would not use the roads through town. This nuisance reduction measure was a distinguishing aspect of our offer that the clients greatly appreciated during the tender phase.
Invisible noise screen
But now that the road is being used, some smart applications along the road also help to minimize any nuisance. There are 'diffractors' on the sides of the road. They are concrete bins with hollow compartments that divert the traffic noise. You might call this an invisible noise screen. This minimizes traffic noise nuisance for those local residents who have now got a provincial road in their ‘backyard’.
30% reduction in CO2 emissions
And of course, the road has been asphalted using our ‘green’ LEAB, our sustainable asphalt solution. The lower temperatures during the production process enable us to emit 30% less CO2 while preparing this asphalt!
From the Iron Age to the Romans
The new ring road has not only prepared the town of Haps for the future, it has also brought back some hidden connections to the past. During the work, we found some structures and objects which studies revealed to date back to the Iron Age and the time of the Romans. Besides the almost customary fragments of pots and pans, a rare gold ring was found, and we discovered the foundations of a number of buildings. These special finds were made safe completely in keeping with regulations, so as to make sure that they would not be damaged by the road that was to be installed here.