100%-Recycled Piping Systems for Arnhem’s Green City Infrastructure

29. July 2022 | 3 min read

Arnhem is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, and the capital of the province of Gelderland. Surrounded by several national parks, Arnhem is proud of its green city reputation, and the municipality strongly commits to a sustainable development of the area. This year, the renovation project of Hugo de Grootstraat street in Arnhem attracted attention, as the works were done predominantly with electrical machines and minimal use of virgin construction materials. The Durofort stormwater pipes made from 100% recycled PVC and manufactured by Pipelife Netherlands were a 100%-fit for the ambitious project.

Aerial view of Arnhem | Pipelife © Martijn Baudoin

Bustling City Looking for Sustainable Solutions

Housing a population of more than 160,000 people, Arnhem offers both a vibrant urban lifestyle and unspoiled escapes for nature lovers. Preserving such a balance requires a carefully planned development strategy, and in 2018, the municipality adopted its Green Vision framework with sustainable management listed among the main goals.

While environmentally friendly construction practices are not new to the city, the renovation of Hugo de Grootstraat has raised the bar even higher. Before renovation, the street had been used equally by cars and cyclists, which posed accident risks. To improve traffic management, it was decided to turn Hugo de Grootsraat into a street where cyclists would always have priority. Furthermore, the street had not been renewed for around four decades, and its underground infrastructure required modernization as well.

In order to minimize disturbance to the local community and reduce CO2 emissions, the municipality invested in several electrical cranes, bulldozers and mini excavators instead of relying on traditional, diesel-powered machines. While the availability of electrical construction equipment on the market is still limited and charging had to be carefully planned, the advantages were lower noise and air pollution.

Durofort pipes at the installation site | Pipelife
Close-up of Durofort pipes | Pipelife

Minimizing Waste in Construction

In addition, the municipality wanted to reuse as many building materials as possible. For example, the previously used concrete pavers and rainwater gullies were preserved and implemented in the new street design. However, reusing the aged road drainage pipes was not an option as they had reached the end of their service life. A sustainable alternative was needed instead.

After researching the potential solutions, the project contractor Heijmans opted for Durofort stormwater pipes made of 100%-recycled PVC as the best solution. Presented in 2021 by Pipelife Netherlands, the Durofort pipe system has been raising strong interest in the Dutch market and has been lauded by water management professionals.

The pipes are produced using hard PVC extracted from plastics collected in the Netherlands and meet the requirements for KOMO certification (a national top-quality mark for the building and infrastructure sector). Furthermore, after reaching the end of their estimated 70-year service life, Durofort pipes can be fully recycled and used in manufacturing new PVC products.

Durofort pipes laid in the trench | Pipelife
Durofort pipes at the installation site | Pipelife

Improved Urban Mobility for a Sustainable Future

The construction work started in February, and the street was closed for five weeks. The project also involved the renovation of the Vosdijk cycling lane connecting directly to Hugo de Grootstraat. In total, 330 meters of 160-mm, SN 8 Durofort stormwater pipes were installed under both streets. The pipes were joined to a complete stormwater drainage system by reusing the old gullies.

In March 2022, Hugo de Grootstraat was opened again in its new form, offering Arnhem’s many cyclists a safer and environmentally friendlier transportation route. Meanwhile, the Durofort pipe system installed underneath the route will ensure efficient rainwater drainage, keeping the road reliably dry for the next century.

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