The waterway connecting the navigation channel on the Vistula Spit with Elbląg will be ready in autumn this year. – Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk assured in an interview with PAP. He added that the maintenance of the canal up to the end of last year cost over 900,000 PLN.
“I would like to confirm that this year will see the completion of this investment in terms of the construction of a new waterway connecting Elbląg, the Vistula Lagoon and the Gulf of Gdansk. According to the schedule, the waterway should be ready in autumn”. – The deputy head of the Ministry of Infrastructure told PAP.
Marek Gróbarczyk pointed out that in connection with the investment, “there are small delays” related to the construction of the rotary bridge in Nowakowo (across the Elbląg river). “In principle, it is already finished and its acceptance is scheduled for the coming months. The rest of the work is going according to plan. We are left with the construction of the sheet piling on the Elbląg River and the deepening of the fairway on the Vistula Lagoon. These are not complicated works and we do not foresee any major difficulties in connection with them,” he conveyed. – he conveyed.
The deputy minister admitted that the issue of the municipal port of Elbląg and the dredging of the 900-metre section on the Elbląg River from the port to the P2 point is “problematic”. The water crossing of the Vistula Spit has been open since September last year, and the dredging of the fairway on the Elbląg River is underway. In order for larger vessels to enter Elbląg through the Spit, the harbour basin itself still needs to be deepened and the turning circle enlarged – the city of Elbląg does not have the money for this. The government is prepared to support the investment in return for a majority stake in the port.
“We are reaching the P2 point with the works and there, under the current conditions, we have to stop. This is due, among other things, to the quays in the city port, which are too shallow. They need to be strengthened first and then dredged. If we were to do the opposite, this could endanger the port infrastructure,” – Gróbarczyk pointed out.
The minister recalled that the government had offered 100 million zlotys to be spent on the necessary works in this section. “However, this involves certain ownership obligations related to the port. This could be a share buyout, an increase in the capital of the port, or the creation of a new entity with a new form of ownership. We allow for various solutions so that we can enter this port and invest,” – he explained.
Gróbarczyk admitted that the dispute over the issue has been ongoing for several months. “I reiterate my appeal to start negotiations, because the current situation is not leading to anything”. – he pointed out.
Asked about the costs of maintaining the canal through the Vistula Spit, the deputy minister said that by the end of 2022 they totalled more than 900,000 PLN. According to the decision of the Minister of Infrastructure, at present the entrances, exits to and from the port of Nowy Świat and the passage through the lock are free of charge.
According to a draft government resolution published at the end of March this year, the budget of the long-term programme for the construction of a new waterway linking the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdansk is to be increased to over PLN 2 billion 127 million. The current budget is PLN 1 billion 984 million. The main reason for the change in the resolution is the increase in investment costs caused by changes in the prices of materials and construction works in the construction market. The draft resolution extends the programme’s completion date to 2024.
Last 17 September saw the opening of the Navigation Channel, which is part of the new waterway linking the Vistula Lagoon with the Gulf of Gdansk. Thanks to the cross-cutting of the Vistula Spit, Poland has gained an independent passage from the Lagoon to the Baltic Sea from Russia. The government indicated that the cross-cut would increase the economic attractiveness of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, and in particular of Elbląg and its port, as well as the other ports of the Vistula Lagoon.
The total length of the waterway from the Gulf of Gdansk through the Vistula Lagoon to Elbląg is almost 23 km, of which the crossing of the Vistula Lagoon itself is just over 10 km, on the Elbląg River – also over 10 km; the remaining approx. 2.5 km is the section consisting of the lock and the outer harbour and the berth. The canal and the entire fairway will eventually be 5 m deep.