The main works in the lock of the navigation canal through the Vistula Spit have been completed. Currently, minor finishing works are being carried out, e.g. assembly of hydro-technical equipment and testing of traffic mechanisms – stated the contractor. In five months, the first ships are to sail through the canal.
The new waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Gdansk Bay is one of the Polish Government’s priority investments, intended to strengthen Poland’s sovereignty and make it independent of decisions made by the Russian side. Each vessel sailing through the Pilawa Strait has to obtain permission from the Russian Federation. Once the canal construction is completed, they will no longer have to do so.
Thanks to the new navigation canal, the route of ships sailing from the Gdansk Bay to the Vistula Lagoon will also be shortened. In addition, the investment strengthens the port in Elbląg and the ports along the Vistula Lagoon.
According to the statement of the Infrastructure Deputy Minister Marek Gróbarczyk, the canal opening through the Vistula Spit will take place on 17 September. As Gróbarczyk pointed out during a recent conference at the captain’s house in Nowy Świat: “the new waterway is a groundbreaking investment, so the date of the canal’s opening must also be special”.
– In the context of the current tragedy in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression, and the actions that have targeted the investment, the date of 17 September marks a turning point in this story. The vessels that will enter here will open a new waterway. The waterway, which was blocked and controlled by the Russian side for so many years – said minister Marek Gróbarczyk.
The contractor has five months to complete the construction. When asked by the Polish Press Agency how work is progressing on the canal lock, the NDI / Besix consortium replied that the main work had already been completed.
Below – a video clip highlighting the work progress
At present, minor finishing works, such as anti-corrosion coating of the north gate doors, hydro-technical equipment assembly, and traffic mechanisms tests, are in progress. After that, the first water in the lock will appear in the southern part, in the area between the temporary sheet pile wall and the doors of the southern gate, located on the side of the Vistula Lagoon.
The filling with water of the essential part of the lock between the gates will be a long-term process, for which highly efficient pumps and process openings in sheet pile walls will be used, reports the contractor.
Magdalena Kierzkowska, a spokeswoman for the Maritime Office in Gdynia, added that the work at the lock is nearing completion, with tests on the northern and southern locks underway. Soon the contractor is planning to carry out leak tests, and when they are finished, he will proceed with obtaining a permit for use. In the southern part of the lock, a mattress of gabion baskets was made to prevent the bottom from being washed away. The dredging of this section has also been completed. Similar works have started on the northern side of the canal.
The total length of the new waterway from the Gdansk Bay through the Vistula Lagoon to Elblag is nearly 23 km, of which about 2.5 km is the section that will comprise the lock, outer harbour and the berth. The canal and the entire fairway will be 5 m deep.