The final works on the construction of the Vistula Spit Shipping Canal are underway. Almost everything is ready in the land part of this project, where tests and technical acceptance are now mainly taking place. There is also less and less work to be done in the area of the two breakwaters in the sheltering harbour in the Gulf of Gdansk and at the artificial island in the Vistula Lagoon.
– The Vistula Spit Piercing is a strategic investment for Poland. For the first time in Poland’s post-war history it will make it possible to enter the Vistula Lagoon without passing through the Russian coastal zone. Especially today, in the face of war, one can see how right the government’s decision to start this construction was,” said Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk. – The official inauguration of the Shipping Canal will take place on 17 September. It will receive its target parameters next year, said Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk.
The new shipping canal is one kilometre long and five metres deep, the lock itself is 200 metres long, 25 metres wide and 6.5 metres deep. Thanks to the canal, 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 will enter the port of Elbląg. The scope of the first stage of this investment, which is currently being completed, includes the construction of a sheltering harbour on the side of the Gulf of Gdansk and a navigation channel with locks and closure structures, together with waiting berths on the side of the Gulf of Gdansk and the Vistula Lagoon. Also to be done was a new road system with movable steel bridges with a vertical axis, which already allow passage over the canal. In addition, there were plans to build an artificial island in the Vistula Lagoon, which is already a haven for birds.
The investor for this project is the Maritime Office in Gdynia, and the general contractor is a consortium made up of the Sopot-based company NDI and the Belgian Besix. Both the one and the other cannot hide their satisfaction at the fact that the completion of this gigantic investment can soon be celebrated.
– The first stage of the construction of the crosscut is already complete, which we are very happy about. We are in the technical acceptance phase, before the final acceptance. On the other hand, a number of structures already have an occupancy permit. These include both bridges – the southern and northern ones, the lock, the Captain’s Office building, which the Maritime Office has already taken over, and a part of the waterway towards the Vistula Lagoon about two kilometres in length,” lists Andrzej Małkiewcz, Head of the Investment Implementation Department at the Maritime Office in Gdynia.
So far, most of the work has been carried out on land, i.e. in the area of the canal, the lock and the road system. This is where the NSS master control system is now being commissioned and integrated with the automation system of the northern bridge, the lock gates and the external systems installed at the crossing. CCTV system cameras (outside the breakwaters), warning loudspeakers in the area of the bridges, road lighting or variable message signs for the fairway are also being installed.
98 per cent behind schedule
– The advancement of our construction is approaching 98 per cent of the total work to be completed. On the land part, most of the finishing work, planting, greenery, as well as the completion of tests and trials related to the rotation of bridges and sluice movement remain to be done,” says Marcin Janczewski, site manager with the NDI/Besix consortium. – As far as the sheltering harbour on the Bay of Gdańsk is concerned, work is still underway there on the western and eastern breakwaters. On the western breakwater, the final work remains on the cable drainage system, rainwater sewerage system, paving with paving blocks and the completion of part of the head as regards reinforced concrete works and the laying of prefabricated x-block elements. Only the above-water parts of the eastern breakwater also remain to be done. The implementation of the underwater parts of the breakwaters has already been completed.
The vast majority of the work has also already been completed in the area of the artificial island, where the hydrotechnical stone is currently being profiled in line with the target cross-section. And all this means that the date for the final commissioning of the project is fast approaching. The first official passage of a vessel through the new canal on the Vistula Spit is expected to take place as early as September this year.