Traffic tests of the second rotary bridge, assembly of hydrotechnical equipment at the sluice gate and works on the construction of an artificial island on the Lagoon and at shelter ports on the Bay of Gdańsk – this is how work on the construction of the Vistula Spit diversion has progressed recently. The new shipping channel is to be ready this year.
– The construction of the waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Bay of Gdansk is one of the government’s priority infrastructure investments. We understand its importance, especially now, at the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After the completion of this investment, ships will be able to call at the port of Elbląg sailing exclusively through our waters, which will make shipowners independent of the will of the Russian side – said Andrzej Adamczyk, the minister of infrastructure.
The Vistula Spit Recrossing is the main part of the new waterway between the Vistula Lagoon and the Gulf of Gdansk. The project includes the construction of a shelter port on the side of the Bay of Gdansk, as well as a navigation channel with a lock, its closures and waiting berths for ships (on both sides), construction of a new road system along with two swing bridges and an artificial island on the Vistula Lagoon. The investor is the Maritime Office in Gdynia, and the general contractor is the NDI/Besix consortium.
– The Vistula Spit Recrossing is the main part of the construction of the waterway connecting the Vistula Lagoon with the Bay of Gdańsk. The project is at an advanced stage of completion. Later this year the first ships will use the new waterway,” said Deputy Infrastructure Minister Marek Gróbarczyk.
In the eastern part of the shelter port, dredging works are underway, a stone surcharge is being made, “x-block plus” concrete elements are being laid, as well as the base and levelling layer of concrete and superstructure are being made. In the western part, in addition to the same tasks, the cofferdam is being backfilled and a separation geo-textile fabric is being laid. In the southern part of the navigation channel the installation of hydrotechnical equipment has been completed, and in the northern part all reinforced concrete works have been completed. Installation of fender elements and dredging works are in progress. The animal ramps – two on each bank, 5 m wide and 22 m long – are ready now.
In the lock, which is the heart of the investment, hydraulic engineering and work on the northern and southern gates is in progress. In addition, work is in progress on the construction of a new road system, so that ship traffic will not paralyze car traffic. This will be facilitated by two unique in Poland swing bridges. The northern bridge has been in use since last summer. The southern bridge is currently undergoing tests on its swivel mechanism.
Intensive works are also underway in the area of the artificial island. Dredging works connected with the removal of silt from inside the cofferdam and its backfilling have been completed. Almost all sheet pile walls have been dug and most of the tie-beams have been installed. The artificial island will have an area of 181 ha. It will be a habitat for birds, which have already taken a liking to it.
Electrical, teletechnical and sanitary works are also carried out. Recently the installation of rainwater pumping station systems in the area of the Captain’s Office building has been continued. The supervisory control system (NSS) was also tested, and the automation system of the north and south bridges, sluice gates and external systems installed on the crossing area were integrated.
In the near future, the general contractor plans to complete the backfilling of the cofferdam and the superstructure on the western breakwater as well as to excavate the base and leveling layers on both breakwaters. Traffic tests of the sluice gates are also due to start soon.
The new waterway from the Gulf of Gdańsk through the Vistula Lagoon to Elbląg is nearly 25 km long. The navigation channel itself is to be one kilometer long and five meters deep.