6 May 2022

Contract for the Fairway signed!

The next stage of works related to the construction of a waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk begins. Today, at the Harbourmaster’s Office of Elbląg, a contract under which a fairway with a length of 8.2 thousand metres will be deepened was officially signed. This will allow ships with a length of 100 metres, a width of up to 20 metres and a draught of 4.5 metres to pass through this area.
Dredging and silting works on the newly designed fairway – through the Vistula Lagoon, from the Elbląg River to the channel through the Vistula Spit (from km 10+400 to km 18+600) – is the third stage of works related to the construction of the new waterway. The implementation of this part, as well as the first stage, will be the responsibility of the NDI Group companies, which as a consortium together with Przedsiębiorstwo Robót Czerpalnych i Podwodnych have become the General Contractor of this investment. The investor is the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

“Less than three years ago, we signed the contract for the implementation of the first stage of the construction of the shipping channel, which is now nearly completed. Together with contractors and subcontractors, we have kept our word. Today, we sign a contract for the last stage of the dredging of the fairway, which will be completed in the first half of the next year. Thanks to this contract, for an amount of almost PLN 130 million, vessels with a draught of 4.5 metres, up to 100 metres in length and 20 metres in width will be able to enter. Only today many who opposed this important investment see how strategic this project is, said Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Grzegorz Witkowski.

“The contract signed today is an element integrating the two previously started stages of construction of a nearly 25-kilometre-long new waterway. The shipping fairway on the Vistula Lagoon will have a depth of 5 metres along the entire length and width of 60 metres at the bottom and of 120 metres in the “passing” places. These are shipping parameters that we could not count on basing the shipping on the crossing of the Strait of Baltiysk. The parameters of the fairway are to increase transshipment in the Port of Elbląg, ensure an increase in tourist activity in the ports of the Vistula Lagoon and Elbląg, and above all, create the conditions for the navigation of state, freight and tourist service vessels independent of the Russian Federation,” said Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia Wiesław Piotrzkowski.

The signed contract includes, among others, dredging works and the transport and silting of the spoil along with its incorporation into the so-called artificial island, as well as the purchase, delivery and setting the navigation markings.

“This is another hydrotechnical investment about which we are very excited. All the more so as, being the contractor of the first stage of works on the construction of the crosscut of the Vistula Spit channel, we have a unique chance to continue our involvement at the next stage. It is worth emphasising that the works on the construction of the crosscut are already very advanced. We hope that both the Investor and the public, who closely follow the progress of the works, will notice that the works are carried out efficiently and professionally. For our team, this project is a fulfilment of professional ambitions and an opportunity to broaden our experience. I am convinced that the experience and skills gained will help in the implementation of a new task, which is to deepen the shipping channel on the section from km 10+400 to km 18+600 as part of the project “Construction of a waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk”. Together with our consortium member, PRCiP, we are well prepared for this task, both in terms of equipment and personnel. We are practically present on the construction site along with the mobilised equipment necessary to carry out the task. Today’s signing of the contract begins the next stage of works for us and we will certainly do everything to make the work as smooth and professional as in the first stage,” emphasises the President of the NDI Group, Małgorzata Winiarek-Gajewska.

How will the ships pass each other?
In addition to deepening the waterway to at least 5 metres, it will also be necessary to widen it. Currently, the basic track width measured at the bottom is 60 metres. In order for the ships to pass each other and their sterns to freely enter the bends, the width will be locally increased up to 120 metres.
The widening was designed after the exit from the Gulf of Elbląg to the Vistula Lagoon. The design radius of the curve for the representative vessel at a bend is 900 metres. The variable track widths are connected by 600-metre-long transitional sections. For reasons of traffic safety and ease of navigation, the fairway on the bend is surrounded by straight sections, connecting the characteristic points. These sections form edges, between which the bottom will be excavated to the technical depth.

Where will the spoil go?
The sand excavated during the works will be transported and deposited on an artificial island, which is created as part of the first stage of the construction of a waterway connecting the Lagoon and the Gulf. A total of 442 thousand m³ of soil will be used to backfill the first such island in Poland – this is equal to the volume of 118 Olympic swimming pools. The Aestian Island is almost ready. It is also slowly becoming a place more and more willingly chosen by birds, which establish their breeding habitats there.

When will it be finished?
In addition to the dredging works, also 35 buoys are to be performed – 18 red cylindrical buoys on the left side and 17 green conical ones on the right.
Thanks to the investment, barge combinations with a length of 180 metres as well as ships with a length of 100 metres, a width of up to 20 metres and a draught of 4.5 metres will be able to pass through the new waterway on the Vistula Lagoon.
The general contractor has time until the end of September this year to complete half of the dredging work. However, all works must be completed by May 2023. The cost of this stage of construction of a new waterway is nearly PLN 129.5 million.

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