New bridge over Albert Channel in Meerhout ready in September
On Sunday, a new bridge over the Albert Channel has been installed in Meerhout-Vorst (Antwerp). The new bridge construction fits in the large-scale project of the Flemish Waterway (Vlaamse Waterweg) to raise all 62 bridges over the Albert Channel to 9,10 meters by 2023. This would allow barges to pass under the bridge with a four-layered cargo of containers.
The new bridge is 123 m long, 18 m wide, and 22 m high. The separate parts of the construction were prepared in a workhouse and then transported in pieces and combined on an assembly platform along the channel. On Sunday morning, the different components were transported to the exact location in Meerhout-Vorst and assembled.
“The installation of such a steel bridge – weighing 1 000 tons – requires a lot of craftsmanship,” explained Chris Danckaerts of the Flemish Waterway to Belga. The bridge will be finalized in the coming weeks and will be officially open for traffic in September. It will get two traffic lanes and separated bicycle paths of 1,75 m wide. The new construction in Meerhout-Vorst represents an investment of 11,5 million euros.
According to Minister for Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), 40 million tons of cargo are transported annually over the Albert Channel. It is the equivalent of two million trucks a year or a saving of 8 000 trucks a day on our roads.
Today, already 45 of the 62 bridges over the Albert Channel are raised. As of 2023, barges will transport four layers of containers over the inland waterways, which is a positive perspective for entrepreneurs and transporters.