2 August 2021

The dredging of the channel on the Spit has started!

The dredging of the shipping channel that will connect the Gulf of Gdańsk with the Vistula Lagoon has started. The work is carried out by one of the most modern dredgers in Europe. A lot is also happening in the area of the artificial island, the perimeter of which has already been closed. Work on land has also been intensified.

“Works on the cross-cut of the Vistula Spit are proceeding according to schedule. The first vessels will pass through the new shipping channel next year, and the final shape of the investment will be achieved in 2023,” says Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Marek Gróbarczyk.

“Thanks to the opening of the earthworks front from the side of the Vistula Lagoon, which took place after the traffic was diverted to the Southern Bridge, we will soon see the shape of the shipping channel in full. It will be possible after the driving of sheet piling and micropiles and ensuring the continuity of the entire structure of the southern channel,” said Master Mariner Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia. “Water that can already be seen from the northern side in the channel certainly makes it easier to imagine what the whole crossing over the Vistula Spit will look like in a year’s time.”

The shipping channel and the lock are the key sites for the Vistula Spit cross-cut. Thanks to it, vessels will be able to access the Vistula Lagoon from the Baltic Sea and vice versa. Work at this site is in full swing. Reinforcement and concreting of the bottom of the shipping channel lock have already been completed. Currently, the walls are being reinforced and concreted. In the southern part of the channel, reinforcement of the lock pocket and culverts is carried out, as well as concreting of the culverts. This means that we can move on to the next phase.

“We have started dredging works on the shipping channel. For this purpose, we have brought a dredger – one of the most modern in Europe and the most modern in Poland,” says Mariusz Sasin from the NDI/Besix consortium, which carries out the cross-cut. “In the near future, we plan to use the dredger to build a section of the channel to the northern lock, and then move it to the south and make a section to the lock’s gates. Finally, at the end of this year, after the lock gates are installed and put into operation, we will fully dig through the shipping channel.”

Time for the northern bridge

Two swing bridges have been designed to avoid the need to stop car traffic when a ship passes through the channel. The southern bridge was put into operation last month. Now the bridge work has focused on the northern bridge. Its steel structure has already been completed. The bodies and flaps of the P1, P2, P3 supports are also nearing completion. The construction of the reinforced soil retaining structure is in progress. Some elements of the facility’s equipment have also been installed, including crash barriers and a drainage collector.
Despite the bad weather, activities in the Gulf of Gdańsk area continue.

“Recently we had to deal with high temperatures, which was conductive to storms, squalls, and this made work difficult. At that time, we performed tasks on land, so we can say that we are still going according to the schedule,” says Bartosz Zabłocki, Head of Hydrotechnical Works at NDI.

The pile-driving works on the eastern breakwater have already been completed. 921 linear metres of the bulkhead were constructed. Currently, pile-driving works related to deepening the sheet piling on the head are in progress. At the same time, riprap works are being carried out. So far, they have been completed in 50 percent.

“The riprap works consist in laying the core and the intermediate layer under x-blocks, which will support the bulkhead structure. In this way, we prepare the substrate for x-block plus prefabricated elements. Prefabricated elements are laid in order to scatter the waves and capture their kinetic energy, and consequently to protect the riprap against future washing,” explains Bartosz Zabłocki.

There are 715 ties on the island

A lot is also happening in the area of the artificial island, which is to become a paradise for birds. Works related to driving sheet piling are nearing completion. More than a half, i.e. 715 ties, have already been installed. Dredging works and backfilling of the island’s cofferdam are in progress. A layer of hydrotechnical stone was made on the technical zone in 12 sections – this is 20 percent of the planned range. A hydrotechnical stone rip-rap was also made on the slope on two sections and sheet piling was cut off on one section.
Recently completed works include, i.a., the construction of electrical and telecommunication systems in the Harbourmaster’s Office building, construction of power lines for the southern bridge and the gate of the southern side of the lock, as well as electricity and automation of the southern bridge. The lighting system of the southern bridge and the roads leading from it towards Sztutowo and Krynica Morska were also made.

What’s next?

In the coming months, the completion of pile-driving works on both breakwaters in the Gulf of Gdańsk is planned. Reinforced concrete works will be continued on the top of the western breakwater and in its onshore part. In the area of the shipping channel, works related to reinforcement and concreting of the lock walls will be carried out. Mechanic components will be installed – bottom, side and top rails, and in August the assembly of the steel structure of the gates will begin. Work on the northern bridge will continue. On the artificial island, the following works, among others, will continue: driving sheet piling, installation of ties, making geotubes, dredging works and backfilling the island’s cofferdam. Further works related to electrical, telecommunication and sanitary installations are also planned.

The contractor of construction works under the project entitled “Construction of a waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk – part I” is the NDI/Besix consortium. The investor is the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

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