The Betuwe Route connects the harbor of Rotterdam, Europes largest trans-shipment center for goods from and to the rest of the world, and the Dutch-German border. In the course of the two-track stretch of line, the Pannerdensch Tunnel crosses under both a very delicate nature reserve and the Pannerdensch canal.
The Pannerdensch Tunnel is the third structure of the 160-kilometer-long goods traffic route that was built by mechanized tunnelling. As for the other two - the Sophiaspoor Tunnel and the Botlekspoor Tunnel - Herrenknecht technology was employed. The idea originally was to bridge the Pannerdensch canal between Arnhem and Nijmegen. However in order to largely spare the nature reserves on both banks of the canal and the Boerenhoek settlement, the canal crossings were then tendered out as a two-track tunnel structure.
A Herrenknecht Mixshield was used to excavate both the 1,620-meter-long tunnels under highly complex groundwater conditions. The Mixshield started its advance in November 2001. The breakthrough of the first tunnel came about on June 3, 2002. Things proceeded that much quicker with the second tunnel. With the breakthrough of the second tunnel, the project was concluded after only a four-month underground operation. Advance rates of over 200 meters a week testify to the impressive, record-breaking project performance.