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ACTIVITY REPORT - jobsite visit Scheldetunnel construction dock

40 enthusiastic tunnel engineers embarked on a field trip to the construction dock in Zeebrugge. ABTUS-BVOTS orchestrated this educational visit, providing an opportunity for its members to witness firsthand the marvels of tunnel engineering. Our knowledgeable hosts for the day were Jeffrey De Pauw and Jan Bauwens. Their expertise and passion for tunnel construction shone through as they led us through the bustling jobsite. We explored the massive temporary construction dock—a watery expanse where the tunnelelements take shape. The sheer scale of the dock left us in awe. Jeffrey and Jan explained the meticulous assembly process. These colossal elements, some as long as 160 meters and weighing a staggering 60,000 tons, are constructed here before being floated across the Scheldt River to their final destination in Antwerp.

As the tunnelelements depart Zeebrugge for Antwerp, the temporary dock walls will be removed, simultaneously completing the planned widening of the Boudewijn Canal. Talk about efficiency—two birds with one stone! 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Guy Vercruyssen for his warm hospitality. Witnessing the teamwork required for such a monumental project reinforced the importance of collaboration among engineers, contractors, and stakeholders.

To cap off the day, we gathered at the charming Old Steamer in Zeebrugge. Amidst the maritime ambiance, we raised our glasses and toasted to engineering excellence.

Our visit to the Scheldetunnel construction dock was not just educational—it was a celebration of engineering ingenuity. We left with a deeper appreciation for the hidden marvels that lie beneath our cities and waterways.

  • Location: The temporary construction dock is strategically situated near the water in the Zeebrugge harbor. It lies at the corner where the Boudewijn Canal meets the Verbindingsdok.

  • Purpose: In this dock, the tunnelelements are meticulously assembled. First, they are constructed on dry land. Once complete, the dock is intentionally flooded, causing the elements to float. From there, they are towed across the water to their final destination.

  • Impressive Dimensions: The dock itself is no small feat—it stretches an impressive 1 kilometer in length and spans 200 meters in width.

  • Tunnelelements: A total of eight tunnelelements will be built here. One of these colossal elements measures a staggering 160 meters in length, 42 meters in width, and stands 10 meters tall. Its weight? A whopping 60,000 tons!

  • Timeline:

  • January 2021: Construction of the dock begins.

  • 2023: Building of the first tunnelelement commences.

  • 2025: The completed tunnelelements are transported by tugboat across the Scheldt River to Antwerp.


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