11 June 2021

The first of the bridges on the Spit undergoes load tests!

The Southern Bridge is undergoing tests, including load tests, and it will soon be ready for use. Most of the construction works were also completed at the Northern Bridge. It is thanks to these two facilities that drivers will not be stuck in traffic jams waiting for a ship to pass through the shipping channel.

What else on the construction site of the Vistula Spit canal?

“Works on the Vistula Spit are proceeding according to schedule. As soon as next year, the first ships will be able to enter the Vistula Lagoon without the need to ask for permission from the Russian side. In 2023, the entire investment, consisting of three stages, will be completed,” says Andrzej Adamczyk, Minister of Infrastructure. “On the Vistula Spit canal, two swing bridges are being built, which will be opening alternately when vessels will sail through the shipping channel under construction. Thanks to this, traffic from the national road 501 will not be stopped”.

The Southern Bridge is currently undergoing load tests. We use eight-wheel trucks for this purpose. The number and load of these trucks is selected so as to test the most unfavourable load condition for the bridge, which allows us to test its work, deflections and deformations,”explains Paweł Ciomek, Bridge Works Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium, which is the general contractor of this investment.

If everything goes as planned, the bridge will be open to traffic later this month.

“June is special for the maritime economy. It is related to, among others, the Sea Festival and the Days of the Sea, which have been celebrated since 1932. In 2021, they will have a special meaning for this construction because the Southern Bridge will be put into use,” emphasizes Andrzej Małkiewicz, Head of the Investment Implementation Department from the Maritime Office in Gdynia, which is the investor for this project. “The works in the first stage are proceeding according to the schedule or even ahead of it. The construction of the Southern Bridge is a milestone,” he emphasizes.

As pointed out by the specialists from NDI, the object under tests is unique.

“It is one of the longest swing bridges of this type in Poland. Its total length is over 60 metres, the weight of the steel structure of the system with the counterweight is approx. 550 – 560 tonnes. An interesting fact is that despite such a specific structure and weight, it was assembled with millimetre accuracy and weighted in kilograms,” says Paweł Ciomek from the NDI/Besix consortium.

Northern Bridge also with mechanisms

Work is also underway on the Northern Bridge – the progress of works on the bodies and flaps of the P1, P2, P3 supports has already reached 95 percent. The assembly work continues for the steel structure (approx. 80%) and movement mechanisms (approx. 60%). The construction of the reinforced soil retaining structure is in progress. In turn, in the area of the shipping channel, a levelling layer of concrete and reinforced concrete superstructure is made. In the southern part, the works related to driving the sheet piling and installing pliers and tie rods are about to end.

“The lock is the most important element in the central part of the shipping channel. Here also there is significant progress. After moving the traffic from road 501 to the Southern Bridge, we will be able to start building the shipping channel in the southern part. It is a section of approx. 500 metres,” says Andrzej Małkiewicz.

Stone on the artificial island

Intensive works are also taking place in the Gulf of Gdańsk. Sheet piling is being driven, the cofferdam is being backfilled and crushed-stone aggregate is being laid in the main part of the eastern and western breakwaters. Xblock and X-block plus concrete elements, which are placed on the eastern breakwater, are delivered on an ongoing basis. A lot is also happening in the area of the artificial island in the Vistula Lagoon. Let us recall that the island, made of sand extracted during the deepening of the shipping channel (with an area of 181 hectares), is to be a bird sanctuary.

“We have completed most of the works related to driving sheet piling – approximately 9.6 thousand linear metres,” says Jacek Szymański, Project Director from the NDI/Besix consortium. ”In addition, 557 tie rods were installed and a 900-metre-long section of geotubes was made. Dredging works and backfilling of the island’s cofferdams are still in progress. A layer of hydrotechnical stone was also made on the technical zone in a section of 700 linear metres,” adds Jacek Szymański.

Electrical, telecommunication and sanitary works are also carried out throughout the construction site. Among others, the construction of electrical and telecommunication systems in the building of the Harbourmaster’s Office has been completed. Now the installation of a PV system is underway. Also, lighting is built in the area of the southern bridge and the western and eastern roundabouts.

What’s next?

In the following months, the contractor, i.e. the NDI/Besix consortium, will focus on pile-driving and erratic works on breakwaters and on reinforced concrete works on the top of the west breakwater and on the onshore part of the breakwater. In the area of the shipping channel, the execution of a levelling layer of concrete and reinforced concrete superstructure, as well as driving the sheet piling, installation of pliers and tie rods and hydrotechnical equipment will continue.

In addition, work on the Northern Bridge will continue and work inside the building of the Harbourmaster’s Office will be completed. Work on the artificial island will continue.

“On June 5, 20 months have passed since the agreement for the first part of the construction of the waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk was signed. Therefore, it will be completed within one year from now. The dynamics and multidimensionality of the work performed each time I visit the construction site greatly impress me. In addition to the key elements, which are undoubtedly the bridges, breakwaters, the lock and the island, the building of the Nowy Świat Harbourmaster’s Office, where finishing works are currently underway, is also pleasing to the eye” said Master Mariner Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

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