In Massenhoven, BESIX has reached a great milestone: the bridge over the Albert Canal, the canal connecting Antwerp with Liège, is now open to traffic again after it was moved 23 metres to its final position (more information, in Dutch, on the moving operation can be found here). The construction of the new bridge is part of a bigger project by the Vlaamse Waterweg nv with the aim of increasing the capacity of the Albert Canal.
Just like all the other bridges on the Albert Canal, the bridge in Massenhoven was raised to a height of 9.10 m and the passage under the bridge was widened to 86 m in order to maximise the canal’s capacity. Thanks to the higher bridges, inland boats carrying up to four layers of containers will be able to pass through the canal. Furthermore, Short Sea Shipping, in which ships partly sail down the coast without crossing the ocean, will have better opportunities as well.
For the project, the old bridge was kept intact until the new bridge was built, so that traffic had to be interrupted as little as possible. On 28 June 2021, the connecting of the new bridge to the bridge heads was finalised and after a thorough load inspection, it was allowed to be opened for the public again. Now, the BESIX team on the project is rounding off the works around the bridge, so that in a couple of weeks, the whole construction is finished.
The bridge is 123 m long and the arch has a height of no less than 22 m. Furthermore, cyclists were also taken into account. Thanks to a two-lane bicycle path, with space between the path and the roadway, they can cross the bridge safely as well.
Congrats to the whole project team for this milestone!
Over the last ten years, container traffic on the Albert Canal has increased significantly. Therefore, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv invested in maximising the canal’s capacity by raising all bridges to a height of 9.10 m and widening the narrow parts. In total 62 bridges will be raised and already 45 have been finished. All bridges are replaced following the same method, namely keeping the original bridge intact until the new one is finished in order minimise disruptions for both land and water traffic.
In September, the project will be rounded off with the opening of a carpooling car park and the amelioration of the bicycle paths along the canal and to the bridge.