26 July 2022

The first stage of the construction of the waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdansk nearing completion!

The final works on the construction of the Shipping Channel on the Vistula Spit are in progress. Almost everything is ready in the onshore part of this investment, where, currently, mainly tests and technical acceptance procedures are taking place. There is also less and less to do in the area of both breakwaters in the protective harbour in the Gulf of Gdańsk and at the artificial island in the Vistula Lagoon.

“The Vistula Spit canal is a strategic investment for Poland. Thanks to it, for the first time in the post-war history of Poland, it will be possible to enter the Vistula Lagoon bypassing the Russian coastal zone. Especially today, in the face of the war, it is clear how accurate the government’s decision to start this construction was,” said the Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk.

The official inauguration of the Shipping Channel will take place on September 17. It will reach its target parameters next year,” said Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk.

The new shipping channel is one kilometre long and five metres deep; the lock alone is 200 metres long, 25 metres wide and 6.5 metres deep. Thanks to the canal, vessels with a draught of up to 4.5 metres, a length of up to 100 metres and a width of up to 20 metres will enter the Port of Elbląg. The scope of the first stage of this investment, which is now being completed, includes the construction of a protective harbour on the side of the Gulf of Gdansk and a shipping canal with a lock, closure structure, and waiting points from the side of the Gulf of Gdańsk and the Vistula Lagoon. A new road system with movable steel bridges rotating around a vertical axis, which already allow passage over the canal, has also been included in the project. In addition, an artificial island in the Vistula Lagoon has been planned, which already serves as a sanctuary for birds.


Acceptance phase

The investor for this project is the Maritime Office in Gdynia, and the general contractor is the consortium consisting of NDI from Sopot and the Belgian company Besix. Both companies are excited that they will soon celebrate the completion of this gigantic investment.

“The first stage of the canal construction is already nearing completion, and we are very pleased about it. We are in the phase of technical acceptance procedures, which will be followed by the final acceptance. However, many facilities have already been granted the use permit. These include both the southern and northern bridges, the lock, the Harbourmaster’s Office building, which the Maritime Office has already taken over, and part of the fairway towards the Vistula Lagoon with a length of about two kilometres,” says Andrzej Małkiewcz, Head of the Investment Implementation Department at the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

So far, the largest part of the works has been completed on land, i.e., in the area of the canal, lock and road system. Among other things, the Master Control System is currently being launched and integrated with the automation system of the northern bridge, lock gates and external systems installed in the crossing area. Cameras of the CCTV system (except breakwaters), alarm speakers in the area of the bridges, road lighting, and variable message signs of the fairway are also being installed.

98 percent complete

“The progress of our construction is approaching 98 percent of the total work to be completed. On the onshore part, the uncompleted works mainly consist of finishing works, plantings, greenery, as well as tests and trials related to the rotation of bridges and lock movement,” says Mariusz Jańczewski, Site Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium. “As far as the protective harbour in the Gulf of Gdańsk is concerned, works related to the development of the western and eastern breakwaters are still in progress. The remaining works on the western breakwater include the finishing works on linear drainage, stormwater drainage, execution of the cobblestone pavement, completion of the head part in the scope of reinforced concrete works, and laying of prefabricated x-block elements. On the eastern breakwater, also only above-water parts remain to be done. The implementation of the underwater breakwater parts has already been completed.”

The vast majority of the tasks have also already been completed in the area of the artificial island, where hydrotechnical stone profiling in accordance with the target cross-section is currently underway. And all this means that the term of the final commissioning of the investment is fast approaching. The first official passage of a vessel through the new canal on the Vistula Spit is to take place in September this year.


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