30 September 2014 - 08:07

Dutch Transport Minister Schultz opens doubled N33 motorway

(Translation press release Rijkswaterstaat:) Utrecht, the Netherlands, 29 September 2014 - By inflating a giant smiley, Transport Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen has officially opened the doubled N33 motorway between Assen and Zuidbroek, in the north of the Netherlands. The doubling was accomplished in only 16 months, meaning that it has been finished almost one year ahead of schedule.

In the week prior to the opening, the enormous smiley already emerged in the city centres of Assen, Rolde, Gieten, Veendam and Zuidbroek. ‘We have received so many positive responses to the doubling of the N33, especially through Twitter. We would like to share that positive feeling through these happy smileys. We also placed two smileys at the Zuidbroek clover-leaf junction’, says Dirk Flikkema, environmental- and stakeholder manager of the N33.

Assen junction

For a smoother traffic circulation towards the A28 motorway, the Assen-Zuid junction was equipped with a fly-over connecting the N33 with the A28. The traffic circulation has improved, because the local traffic to Assen and the transit traffic on the N33 are now separated. Henk Brink, deputy of the Province of Drenthe, explains: ‘The Assen junction has undergone a huge metamorphosis with this beautiful fly-over as connection to the A28. In addition, the doubling of the N33 has also given the Gieten roundabout, which was reconstructed by the Province of Drenthe in 2012, its final shape. Upgrading these two junctions has given the economic climate in Drenthe a further boost, and the doubling has also increased the safety on the N33 enormously. This is a major step forward.’

Zuidbroek junction

The connection of the N33 to the A7 has improved significantly because of the clover-leaf junction in Zuidbroek. Mark Boumans, deputy of the Province of Groningen: ‘The Zuidbroek junction has built a firm basis for a further expansion of the N33 towards the national sea ports in the north. This also helps to fulfil the Energyport project as it was embraced by the Dutch authorities in their vision on infrastructure and spatial planning (SVIR).’


The doubling of the N33 is the result of cooperation between the Dutch Highway Authority, the Provinces of Groningen and Drenthe, the Municipalities of Assen, Aa and Hunze, Veendam and Menterwolde. The costs of the doubling were estimated at more than 200 million euros, of which 50% was financed by the provinces and municipalities. The project was accomplished by the Poort van Noord consortium consisting of BAM PPP and PGGM. During the coming 20 years, Poort van Noord will remain responsible for the management and maintenance of the N33 between Assen and Zuidbroek.