In May 2018, Mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen officially opened one of the larger construction projects in the Netherlands: Leidsche Rijn Center. While above ground people shop, work and live, a 250-meter-long tunnel is hidden underground. From there, the majority of stores are supplied. Invisible to the shoppers, but closely monitored and regulated via modern automation from the security lodge.

More than ten years ago, the municipality of Utrecht was looking for a way to connect the Leidsche Rijn district, which was then new, to the center of Utrecht. Leidsche Rijn Center became the solution: a new city center where living, shopping, working and entertainment come together. In 2008 a.s.r. Real Estate Projects, in collaboration with Vesteda, won the European tender to develop the new construction project.

Unique system

Because living, shopping and working in the city center are closely connected, soon the desire for underground supplying arose. "This is a unique distribution system for the Netherlands. From a 250-meter long tunnel of two lanes, which we also call the expedition line, drivers arrive in the underground expedition yard where they park," explains Paul van Nes of Real Estate Projects. "Via one of the four large expedition corridors they then walk to the back of the store that they supply. Two thirds of the 125 shops in Leidsche Rijn Center receive their supplies via this underground street." At the end the expedition court is a roundabout, so that trucks can turn and leave again via the tunnel.

Safe and easy

Drivers gain access to the tunnel and the expedition yard via an intercom system that puts them in contact with the control room. a.s.r. wanted to make this procedure as safe and easy as possible for both drivers and employees in the control room. Leendert in't Veld, project manager at Beveco: "Siemens supplied all the basic installations for the control system in the tunnel and the expedition yard, such as the fire-resistant roller doors, barriers, traffic lights and fire detectors. Subsequently, a.s.r. a way to manage all those installations from the control room. To make that possible, a link had to be established between all Siemens installations and the management system in the control room."

With a click of a mouse

Through this management system, which Beveco developed, employees in the control room see a graphical representation of the most important parts in the expedition court. These include the speedgate, the barrier, the roller doors and the various traffic lights. The security guards can see a truck approaching on the camera images. The driver contacts them via the intercom. If a store has indeed registered the driver, the security guard will open the barrier. That is very easy with one mouse click. On the monitor, linked to the management system, the security officer clicks on the graphical representation of the barrier, after which the traffic lights and other barriers are automatically switched at the right time. If necessary, it is also possible to open or close the speedgate or roller door with a single click of the mouse.

Arranged quickly

"For us this was an interesting project", says Leendert in 't Veld enthusiastically. "Making such links is our specialty. Also nice is that a.s.r. gave us all the confidence. This was also apparent, for example, when on a Friday evening we were asked by the expedition court whether we could add some of the missing cables from third parties. At that moment we made a few phone calls and Monday morning at 7:00 am our subcontractor (HIG) was present and that same morning it was arranged. We could do it and the client trusted that we would complete that properly too."
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