14 June 2022

The Lagoon connected with the Gulf! The Crosscut of the Vistula Spit will soon be completed

The investment, the purpose of which is to mark out a new waterway on the Vistula Spit, is taking its final shape. The lock of the shipping channel is already filled with water to its target level, which means that the connection of the Vistula Lagoon and the Gulf of Gdańsk has become a fact. Most of the works in the protective harbour and in the area of the artificial island have already been completed.

“The Vistula Spit crosscut, which will shorten and simplify navigation and make the use the Strait of Baltiysk redundant, looks great and magnificent. With each visit, I am happy to see how the works are progressing and that the construction is on the way to its end,” said Marek Gróbarczyk, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure.

The construction of the Vistula Spit crosscut, built as part of the first part of the investment, is a highly engineered and technologically complex project. Its investor is the Maritime Office in Gdynia, and the general contractor is a consortium consisting of NDI, the Sopot-based company, and the Belgian Besix.

“The investment includes the construction of a protective harbour from the side of the Gulf of Gdańsk, a shipping channel with a lock, closure structure and berths from the side of the Gulf of Gdańsk and the Vistula Lagoon, and a new road system with movable steel bridges with a vertical axis of rotation, which will enable passage over the channel. In addition, the construction of an artificial island located in the Vistula Lagoon has been planned,” said Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia.



Lock walls under disassembly

Although the general contractor has about three months to complete the works, most of the major works have already been completed. Among others, the shipping channel lock has been flooded which will eliminate the difference in water level in both reservoirs and prevent their mixing. Currently, the disassembly of the technological walls that close the lock on the north and south sides is also being completed. The final removal of the walls means the actual connection of the Lagoon with the Gulf.

In the area of the shipping channel, finishing works are still underway to install the hydrotechnical equipment as well as tests and test runs of gates and swing bridges from the Master Control System, which will be managed from the newly built Harbourmaster’s Office building. Its employees will be responsible for the general supervision of the safety of navigation, environmental and fire protection as well as the control of the lock crossing.


What’s new in the Gulf?

In addition, intensive works are still carried out both in the eastern and western part in the protective harbour on the Gulf of Gdańsk. The crushed rock gravel riprap is still being made and the “x-block +” concrete blocks are being laid to protect the breakwater from the effects of waves. Let us recall that on the Vistula Spit, this technology was used for the first time in Poland and for the second time in Europe.

The concrete foundation and leveling layer have already been completed and the superstructure is still under construction. Additionally, about half of the hydrotechnical equipment was installed on the west side.


What’s new on the island?

A lot is also happening in the area of the artificial island, which area is to be 181 hectares, where birds will find shelter.

“The work related to driving and making the rods is almost completed. The dredging works related to the removal of silt from the inside of the bulkhead were also completed, as well as the works related to the backfilling of the bulkhead,” says Jacek Szymański, Project Director from the NDI / Besix Consortium. “In addition, the geotube was made on 57 sections, hydrotechnical stone was made on the range of the technical belt on 52 sections, on the slope on 47 sections and in accordance with the target section on 37 sections. The sheet piles were cut to the “0” level in 37 sections.”

There is still a lot of work in the electrical, teletechnical and sanitary industries. For example, the installation of CCTV cameras (apart from breakwaters), warning loudspeakers in the vicinity of bridges, road lighting and variable message boards of the fairway is in progress. The construction of a linear drainage system is also still in progress.



A kilometre-long, five-metre-deep channel

All works are to take about two months. The general contractor is working on schedule.

Ultimately, the new shipping channel is to be one kilometre long and five metres deep. After the completion of all parts of the project in 2023, the port of Elbląg will be entered by the vessels with a draft of up to four and a half metres, length of up to 100 metres and width of up to 20 metres.

The second part of the investment is also under construction, namely the lining of the Elbląg riverbanks with the new bridge in Nowakowo. The contractor for this part is Budimex SA. The mobilization of units and preparatory work under the third part, including the construction of a fairway on the Vistula Lagoon, are also in progress. These works will be performed by a consortium of companies from the NDI Group and Przedsiębiorstwo Robót Czerpalnych i Podwodnych.


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