Dyke reinforcements in Northern Meuse Valley: a new layer in the landscape
The Limburg Water Authority is currently working on the extensive task of reinforcing fourteen sections of dyke along the northern part of the Meuse. Owing to the unique landscape of the area, this comprises not only a technical but also – and in particular – a spatial challenge.
This task requires carefully managed landscape integration. The dykes ultimately need to become a natural facet of the Meuse Valley. This meant it was up to our spatial designers, together with other stakeholders and a range of experts, to carefully construct a new layer in the landscape.
Witteveen+Bos is assisting the Limburg Water Authority during the exploratory and plan development phases. We are doing this in collaboration with Arcadis. For each section of dyke, there is an integrated project team which includes landscape architects from Witteveen+Bos and Arcadis.
The dyke reinforcement is taking place in a landscape that was not previously home to dykes. In large sections of the Meuse Valley, the higher-situated plateaus of the Meuse offered a natural form of protection and meant that dykes were not necessary. Incorporating dykes and water barriers in a natural way is the big challenge of this project. The task consists partly of introducing dykes into areas where they have never previously been, and partly in reinforcing the emergency dykes and embankments constructed in the 1990s. In designing the reinforcement of these emergency dykes, critical attention was paid to the existing layout: is the dyke or embankment located in the right part of the landscape?
In a number of dyke sections, the water barrier runs through the village centre. This required – in the past and still today – careful integration in a public space. Both then and now, the aim consists of achieving the reinforcement using an effective integrated design, while also providing the public space with a qualitative boost.
In the coming years, Witteveen+Bos will remain closely involved in the further plan development and the implementation preparations for the Northern Meuse Valley dyke reinforcements.