Motorway + Nature development

Integration of the A12 VEG

The A12, an important motorway east-west connection of the Netherlands, will be widened between Ede and Grijsoord along an 11km stretch to improve safety and traffic flows. The motorway section lies partly in the Veluwe nature reserve, which requires special attention. The ecological embedment of the A12 was part of a comprehensive approach.


The A12  Veenendaal – Ede – Grijsoord (VEG) motorway is the last link in widening the A12, the hinterland connection between the Randstad (the most densily populated part in the Netherlands) and Germany. The bottleneck between Ede and Grijsoord will be permanently widened from 2x2 to 2X3 lanes. Therefore, the project was included in the MIRT, the Multiyear Infrastructure, Spatial Planning and Transport Programme.


The motorway runs straight through the Veluwe, the largest lowland nature reserve in Northwestern Europe. Ecology forms the biggest challenge: the widening of the motorway must not be at the expense of this important nature reserve, but instead, should be a quality boost for the area. The project involves an investment of 80 million euros and should be completed by mid 2016.

Part of the plan is to defragment habitats for animals by constructing wildlife corridors and additional ecological corridors

The Department of Public Works and Water Management has acknowledged the high natural values of the area and has therefore challenged the contractors in the selection procedure to give extra attention to the special ecological values in the area, in addition to the contractual obligations. Part of the plan by the Heijmans consortium is to defragment habitats for particular species by constructing wildlife corridors below and across the motorway and additional ecological connections across and alongside the railway tracks. As a result, the habitat of these animals will expand considerably. These corridors are meant for badgers, bats, lizards, blindworms and snakes.

32 measures to integrate the widened motorway into the landscape and ecology



The A12 Veenendaal – Ede – Grijsoord is the first public-private partnership for Heijmans in the field of infrastructure in the Netherlands. As contractor, the Heijmans consortium is fully responsible for designing, maintaining and financing the project (Design, Build, Finance and Maintain). Specialists from various disciplines in the field of design, consultancy, road construction and civil engineering are working on the project.


During the tender procedure, the plan was developed in collaboration with organisations familiar with the flora and fauna in the area surrounding the A12, such as the ecological consultancy agency EcoGroen, RAVON and the Dutch Mammal Society. This resulted in the embedment of the landscape and ecology looking beyond the A12 connection. H+N+S gave substantive support during the tender phase bus has not been involved in the construction phase.


Heather corridors

Various measures ensure that the nature along the motorway will be maintained as much as possible. The new verges will be nature friendly, allowing smooth snakes and sand lizards to continue living in their habitat. Along the motorway five so-called heath corridors will be created for reptiles connecting isolated habitats near the highway with heathlands remotely situated from the highway.

Impression of the Grijsoord junction after the construction phase

Fauna connections

Below the A12, additional connections are constructed for animals: a fauna corridor (for, among others, deer) and four badger corridors. Fauna connections are created above and below the new rail tunnel. Above the A12, two bridges for pine martens will be constructed. The trees that have to make way for the widened motorway will be predominantly replanted in the verges along the highway. In order to make this possible, the Department of Public Works and Water Management liaised with nature managers and land owners.