29 April 2022

The lock of the channel of the Vistula Spit Crosscut has been tested!

There is another reason for satisfaction on the construction site of the channel of the Vistula Spit Crosscut. This week the lock gates were successfully tested for tightness. The lock chamber is 200-metre-long, 25-metre-wide and 6.5-metre-deep. Thanks to it, the waters of the Gulf of Gdańsk and the Vistula Lagoon will not mix, and the difference in water level in both reservoirs will not pose a threat to vessels.

The construction of the Vistula Spit Crosscut is intended to set a new waterway that will connect the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdańsk. However, in order for such ship traffic to be possible and at the same time not to limit car traffic, it is necessary to build, among others, a shipping channel with a lock and closure structure together with berths and a new road system with two swing bridges. Both the Investor, the Maritime Office in Gdynia and the General Contractor, the NDI/Besix consortium, ensure that the works planned for this stage of the project are already on the home stretch. Recently, one of the most important projects was the lock tightness test, which is a key element for the entire investment.

“In the first stage of the test, we poured water from the Vistula Lagoon between gate No. 1 and the technological bulkhead to the level of “-1.3” metre. Then, after obtaining this level, we began to pump water between gate No. 1 and 2, also to the level of “-1.3”. The last stage was to pump water between gate No. 1 and the technological bulkhead to the “0” level, i.e. to the water level in the Vistula Lagoon. After reaching this water level, leaks in the reinforced concrete chamber were measured at the lock gates. The result is positive, which means that the steel gates on the southern gate are tight,” emphasises Maciej Klecha, Bridge Works Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium.

Harbourmaster’s Office granted permit

But that is not the only good news from the Vistula Spit Crosscut. Everything is ready in the building of the Nowy Świat Harbourmaster’s Office, which has been granted a permit for use. Let us remind you that the Harbourmaster’s Office will ensure supervision of the safety of shipping, environmental protection, fire protection, control of the lock crossing, as well as the operation of the lock gates, swing bridges and regulation of road traffic in the vicinity of Harbourmaster’s Office and the lock crossing.

“We are now hiring and training people who will work in the Harbourmaster’s Office,” informs Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia. He emphasises that people who will work in the Harbourmaster’s Office must learn to use the top-class equipment of the operator station of the Master Control System.

The breakwaters are almost ready

Also, as the Hydrotechnical Works Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium says, most of the works in the area of breakwaters are also about to be completed.

“We are currently finishing the works involving dredging in the protective harbour and the shipping fairway from the northern side. We are finishing the main reinforced concrete works related to the concreting of slabs on the eastern breakwater. We start concreting and reinforced concrete works on the eastern head. We are also finishing the works related to the installation of x-block and x-block plus elements. We have completed the works related to the laying of prefabricated elements in 80 percent,” lists Bartosz Zabłocki, Hydrotechnical Works Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium.

As a reminder, the Vistula Spit Crosscut is the second investment in the world where x-block plus prefabricated elements have been used. For the first time in history, they are also laid underwater, as an element of the structure dissipating the wave energy.

“We are also finishing reinforced concrete work on the western breakwater. We are slowly preparing to start works related to the construction of the pavement on the western breakwater and the drainage system,” adds Bartosz Zabłocki, Hydrotechnical Works Manager from the NDI/Besix consortium.

The key role of the island

The artificial island, which is being built at a distance of approx. 2 km from Przebrno and approx. 4.5 km from the crosscut, already plays its role.

“The artificial island is a key element of the implementation of this stage of the investment. It is the key element due to its purpose, on the one hand, as it is a place intended for storing excavated material from dredging works from the bottom of the Vistula Lagoon and the Elbląg River, and on the other hand, due to aspects related to the protection of the environment, including the migration of birds,” explains Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia. “The island is ellipse-shaped, it is 1,900 by 1,100 metres in diameter. Its area is 181 hectares. The island is divided into two quarters, one of which is intended for the executive stage and the other for the maintenance stage.”

It appears that all works related to the construction of the first stage of the Vistula Spit Crosscut will be completed by autumn. The new waterway from the Gulf of Gdańsk through the Vistula Lagoon to Elbląg is a section with a length of nearly 25 kilometres. The shipping channel will be one-kilometre-long and five-metre-deep. Ultimately, it is intended to allow 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 to enter the port of Elbląg.

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