The docks at the Port of Antwerp (Waaslandhaven) had been linked to the Scheldt River by the Kallo lock since 1979. However, its limited capacity could no longer meet demand.
The Flanders region and the Antwerp Port Authority (Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf Antwerpen) therefore decided to build a new lock to provide access to the docks on the left bank of the Scheldt.
The new “Kieldrecht” lock allows ships to transition from the Scheldt (with tides) to the docks on the left bank, where water levels do not vary.
Building the new lock at the Port of Antwerp was a gigantic undertaking. The Kieldrecht is 500 metres long, the equivalent length of 28 buses parked bumper to bumper. It boasts a width of 68 metres, comparable to a 19-lane motorway.
The lock, bridges and other aspects of the construction required 22,000 tonnes of steel, three times the amount needed to build the Eiffel Tower (7,300 tonnes).
In terms of volume capacity, it is the largest lock in the world.
Five companies were involved in the project, two of which are subsidiaries of Eiffage Benelux and experts in maritime civil engineering: Herbosch-Kiere and Antwerpse Bouwwerken.
Their management teams and highly-skilled workers rose to the challenge to pull off the impressive technical feat.
The Waaslandsluis joint venture set up to handle the project also included Jan De Nul, CEI-De Meyer and Betonac.
The bottom of the lock is 17.8 metres below sea level. Its depth can accommodate the latest 14,000 TEU container ships (length 397.5 metres and beam 56.4 metres, with a draft of between 13.1 metres and 14.5 metres).
The lock comprises a sluice and two sliding gateways at either end. The gates roll on special roller carriages fixed on tracks to the bottom of the lock and are further strengthened by upper track fixtures. Power cables for the supply of electricity ensure the movement of the gates.
So as not to interfere with road and rail transport at the docks, two mixed-use road/rail bridges ensure a steady flow of traffic over the lock and provide access to companies on the left bank of the Scheldt. The bridges can also be used by cyclists and pedestrians.
Metal structure: 22,000 t
Reinforced concrete: 795,000 m3
Sheet piling: 50,000 m3
Dry earthworks: 5,495,000 m3
Wet earth levelling: 50,000 m3
Asphalt surfacing: 44,000 m²
Total investment: €273 M
Total Eiffage Benelux: €91 M
Delivery: June 2016
Kieldrecht (initially called Deurganckdok) lock project presentation film (English version). Eiffage Benelux, 2014.