Report – Vistula Spit
Work on the first part of the investment entitled “Construction of a waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk” continues in accordance with the adopted schedule.
“The digging of the Vistula Spit and the construction of the shipping channel is a strategic investment for our country. Thanks to the completion of this investment as well as the construction of the S7, S16 and S51 expressways, and the construction and modernisation of railway lines, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship will gain new development opportunities,” said Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk.
From the side of the Gulf of Gdańsk, the area of the protective harbour is dredged. Work on the eastern breakwater is also continued. Pliers and tie rods are being mounted there and the cofferdam is backfilled. The first prefabricated concrete elements, the so-called X-blocks have been delivered to the site (there will be 9,604 of them in total). They will protect the breakwaters against waves. Reinforced concrete works have also started at the base of the western breakwater.
In the area of the shipping channel under construction, on the northern and southern sides of the lock, micropiles are installed and the sheet piling is driven. Work is also underway on excavations, slopes are being strengthened, and embankments for roads are being built. In the area of the lock, the sheet piling has already been driven and an anti-filtration screen has been made.
“On Thursday, the first steel elements of the southern bridge were delivered to the construction site,” says Dominik Wróblewski, Site Manager from the NDI/Besix Consortium. “We have prepared a working platform that will be used to connect the bridge structure. This process will start soon and will end at the turn of January and February next year. We are also installing power hydraulics system to operate the bridge. The first cars will drive over this object in the middle of the year. Meanwhile, on the northern bridge,” adds Wróblewski, “reinforced concrete works are underway, and we plan their completion this year.”
Two swing bridges will be built over the channel, which will enable continuous car traffic, regardless of the vessels sailing through the new waterway. The bridges will be made of steel. The span is 62 metres long and 17 metres wide. When a vessel passes through the shipping channel, the bridge will rotate perpendicular to it. One of the investment assumptions is to ensure the priority of road traffic.
Works related to the construction of the Harbour Master’s Office building have already been completed. Finishing works are currently underway, i.e. building insulation, internal plaster, installation of systems, woodwork and roofing works.
“We named the building of the maritime administration from which our employees will manage and supervise the movement of vessels, the ‘Nowy Świat’ Harbour Master’s Office, owing to the historical name of this place. The architects, in accordance with our guidelines, made every effort to ensure that the building harmoniously fits into the surroundings, and at the same time constitutes a characteristic, maritime and shipping accent of the entire building. I believe that the final effect will be positively assessed by the users of the channel in terms of its functionality, by people fascinated by hydraulic structures, but also by tourists who spend time in this highly attractive region of our country,” said Master Mariner Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Head of the Maritime Office in Gdynia.
Work on the artificial island is well advanced. “We have already completed over one-third of the cofferdam sheet piling forming the envelope of the artificial island,” says Wojciech Czyżewski, director of the island construction project at NDI. “We successively install tie rods and backfill the cofferdam. In the coming weeks, these works will be continued, and the cofferdam will be secured before winter,” adds Czyżewski.
The coming weeks will also see the continuation of works on the eastern and western breakwaters, driving the sheet piling in the entire area of the shipping channel, and starting reinforced concrete works there. In the area of the lock, excavations and drilling of CFA piles (a construction structural element used primarily for deep foundations, e.g., under bridges as well as sheet piling in retaining structures) will begin. Access roads are also being built. Currently, the section of the NSD1 road from the DW 501 voivodeship road to the southern quay is being constructed in the substructure layers, and on the section of the NSD2 road from the DW 501 voivodeship road to the Gulf of Gdańsk, the completion of the substructure layers is planned by the end of November.
As regards the implementation of the second part of the investment, on September 10 this year bids were opened in the tender announced in spring. The tender has not been awarded yet. The examination and evaluation of the submitted bids is in progress (9 bids were submitted). The work of the tender committee will most likely be completed by the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. Let us recall that the second part of the investment includes the reconstruction of the existing fairway on the Elbląg River in the scope of the bank reinforcement, which will ultimately take on the flood protection functions of earth floodbanks, the construction of low marinas facilitating access to the river, and the construction of a swing bridge over the Elbląg River in Nowakowo, along with changes to the road layout.
The total length of the new waterway from the Gulf of Gdańsk through the Vistula Lagoon to Elbląg is nearly 23 kilometres. The passage through the Vistula Lagoon will be slightly over 10 kilometres, along the Elbląg River – also over 10 kilometres, and the remaining section of approx. 2.5 km will consist of the lock, external port and berth space. The channel and the entire fairway will be 5-metre-deep.