Upgrade of the Ampsin lock

On Tuesday 23 May we will hold the general meeting of IABSE-B, followed by a site visit to the lock site in Ampsin.

Construction of 2 new locks, one of 225 x 12.5 m (class Vb) and one of 225 x 25 m (class VIb), on the site of the existing locks of 55 x 7.5 m and 136 x 16 m. Construction is phased so that shipping is not interrupted. The drop is 4.70 m. The project also envisaged straightening the right banks upstream and downstream to meet shipping requirements. To this end, the N90 had to be diverted beforehand.

The project also includes numerous landscaping elements, including around the fish passage of the artificial river type, which will be built over a length of 700 m on the left bank. The existing walkway was completely demolished and replaced by a new one that is not only longer but also accessible to people with reduced mobility. All existing buildings have been demolished and replaced by new ones.

The site visit will take place in the site offices in Ampsin. These are located on the N90, between Ampsin/Tihange – Hermalle-sous-Huy (coordinates 50.532, 5.295).

The program is as follows:

  • 10:45: General Assembly with lunch (sandwiches) offered by IABSE-B
  • 13:30: Reception in the site offices for the visit
  • 13:45: Introduction and presentation
  • 14:15: Site visit
  • 16:00: Closing with drink offered by IABSE-B.
Oosterweel Construction Project - Left Bank

The Oosterweel connection will complete the ringway around Antwerp, which is a huge and difficult job. The Linkeroever, Oosterweel, Groenendaallaan and Schijnpoort junctions are connected by new tunnels and trenches. The immense construction project consists of 5 parts: Linkeroever (left bank), Scheldetunnel, Oosterweelknooppunt, Kanaaltunnels and R1-Noord.

In March 2019, the contractor started the Oosterweelwerken Linkeroever / Zwijndrecht at highway level. The annual meeting was combined with an interesting visit to the construction of the Park & Ride – Left Bank. The immense building combines laminated wooden girders with concrete floors. It will have a capacity of more than 1500 parking spaces and create a multi-modal hub, allowing users to switch between car, bike and tram transport. Some impressions are shown below.

Construction of a new steel arch bridge at Kwaadmechelen (Ham)

The Flemish Waterway has appointed Via T Albert to rebuild seven bridges over the Albert Canal with a view to raising the vertical clearance to a minimum of 9.10 meters. It concerns the bridges in Eigenbilzen, Zutendaal, Stokrooie, Kwaadmechelen Zwartenhoek, Eindhout, Geel-Stelen and Herentals-Lier. Via T Albert is a company specially established for this project, consisting of Willemen Infra, Franki Construct, Aelterman and Hye. The ‘PPS project Increasing bridges Albertkanaal – cluster 1’ covers the design, construction, financing and 30-year maintenance of seven bridges over the Albert Canal.

The anual meeting were combined with an interesting visite to the construction site of the “BR32” in Ham. Some impressions are shown below.

Installation of railway bridge Blankenbergse Steenweg (Bruges)

For the renewal of the bridge of the Blankenbergse Steenweg and the construction of an extra track, a completely new bridge will be built with 3 arches. The arch in the middle is het biggest arch. The new bridge has an orthotropic steel deck.

Since the bridge is part of the busy train connection to the coast and port of Zeebrugge, it is not possible to interrupt the line for a long time. The new bridge was fully built on a neighboring assembly site. This could be done without hindrance to rail traffic. At the same time, the new abutments were built behind the existing abutments. By ensuring that the overhead wires were already mounted on the new bridge, it was possible to take two tracks back into service within the planned time. The bridge was then further finished, including demolishment of the existing abutments and finishing of the embankments. The site visit took place during the preparations for the final installaties of the new bridge.

The NMBS workshop (Melle)

The Belgian railways started with the construction of a new multipurpose workshop on the site of the former Melle shunting yard in June 2014. The workshop serves for the maintenance, repair and cleaning of trains. The new polyvalent workshop replaces the traction workshop Merelbeke and the central workshop at Gentbrugge. Both sites are quite outdated and do not have the right facilities to maintain the latest train types such as the Desiro and the new M7 carriages. The PW Melle is equipped with the latest technologies and will be much more environment- friendly than its predecessors.

Bridges for the new A11 Highway (Zeebrugge)

Between the spring of 2014 and the fall of 2017, the A11 was built, a new motorway between the N31 in Bruges and the N49 in Westkapelle. The A11, with a total length of 12 kilometers, ensures a smooth connection between the Seaport of Bruges and the interior. The focus of this visit was on the movable bridge over the Boudewijn Canal.

Bridges for the ringway R9 (Charleroi)

The repair of the ring R9 along 1.8 km of its southern part had started in September 2014. It was necessary benauwend of the numerous deteriorations of the structure, built in 1975, and subjected daily to thousands of vehicles. This project involved fifteen bridges and viaducts and nine accesses or exits.

Since then, the works in the R9 have been diverse and varied:

  • Repair of all damaged concrete,
  • New seals and new coatings,
  • New guard rails (H4b retaining level incorporating an aesthetic side),
  • Replacement of a bridge beam,
  • Creation of new load-bearing structures for prestressed concrete caissons currently resting on BA headers whose beaks are in very bad condition,
  • Repair of concrete nozzles requiring the lifting of an entire bridge,