Building starts on biggest lock in the world
Flemish minister of Public Works Hilde Crevits CD&V yesterday sounded the starting signal for the concrete constructions of the Deurganck Dock lock on the Antwerp harbour's left bank. This new lock will link the southern section of the Deurganck Dock currently still land and the docks, giving the Waasland harbour on the left bank a second entrance for large ships in addition to the much smaller Kallo lock on the eastern side. This is exactly one year after digging was started on the biggest lock in the world. Belgium is a world authority on lock building as the locks planned for the Panama Canal are based entirely on the technology of the Berendrecht lock on the Antwerp right bank, the biggest lock in the world. The Deurganck Dock lock site is one of the biggest and most impressive in Flanders, boasting football fields of cranes, deep wells, mountains of sand and huge steel constructions. The stage has been set for the real work to start: the casting of enormous concrete constructions for a total of 800 000 m3 reinforced concrete will be used. In the spring of 2015 the two gigantic lock doors will be installed and in April 2016 the lock, which will cost a total of 382 million euros inclusive of roads and buildings, must be operational. At 500 metres long and 68 metres wide, it will be as big as the Berendrecht lock, but it will be 4 metres deeper as the Antwerp Port Authority wanted to make sure the biggest ships of the future will be able to access that section of the harbour. The Deurganck Dock lock will be built by Jan De Nul, which also built the Berendrecht lock and the locks for the Panama Canal. The dredging and building group will form a temporary partnership with CEI-De Meyer, Betonac, Herbosch-Kiere and Antwerp Building Works. The lock will not come a moment too soon as the port on the left bank currently is only offered access via the Kallo lock, but the latter has seen better days and is in urgent need of a facelift. As it provides the only access to that section of the harbour, it cannot be closed for months to undergo renovations. The Antwerp Port Authority has meanwhile started talks with the Crevits cabinet to discuss the construction of yet another lock north of the Zandvliet lock on the right bank. “The start note is being prepared,” says director-general of the Antwerp Municipal Port Authority Eddy Bruyninckx. The lock will primarily absorb the growing traffic of larger sea ships that head for the Sea-Tank tanker terminals. The cost of this lock has been estimated at 500 million euros.