BESIX: Major marine infrastructure work in Poland

7 October 2019

Summary

  • BESIX and NDI will build a shipping channel through the Vistula Spit peninsula, in Poland. The project includes breakwaters, quays, a channel, lock infrastructure with rotating bridges and sluice gates, buildings and roads, as well as an artificial island;
  • Contractors present an extensive experience in building major marine works and infrastructure complying with demanding environmental requirements;
  • Financed by the Republic of Poland, the contract was awarded by the Maritime Office in Gdynia (Urząd Morski w Gdyni);
  • The project will make the port of Elblag accessible to larger vessels and turn it into an important Polish port, in particular by drastically reducing the distance between the port and the Baltic sea.
Shipping channel through the Vistula Spit

The contract

The Maritime Office in Gdynia (Urząd Morski w Gdyni) has awarded the joint venture BESIX – NDI GROUP the contract to build a shipping channel through the Vistula Spit. The Vistula Spit is a peninsular stretch of land, separating the Vistula Lagoon from the Gdańsk Bay.

New infrastructure, designed by engineering consultants Mosty Gdańsk and Projmors, will ease the maritime traffic and boost Elblag’s port installations by drastically reducing the distance between the port and the Baltic sea and making it accessible to larger vessels. In addition to the port, the project is expected to have a positive influence on the employment rate and on the economy of the Warmia-Mazury Province.

The contract was signed on the 4th of October 2019 and amounts to 187 million euros. The project is financed by the Republic of Poland.

Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of BESIX: "The Channel through the Vistula Spit is a major infrastructure which will generate important economic benefits for the Republic of Poland. BESIX is proud to carry out this iconic project and looks forward to developing it with NDI, an esteemed partner with whom we have built an outstanding cooperation and a trusting relationship over the years, notably through the construction the Gdańsk Container Terminal."
Mathieu Dechamps, General Manager International at BESIX: "We will build the Vistula Spit’s infrastructure to the highest quality standards, including with regards to the environment and through the use of state-of-the-art techniques. BESIX has a strong expertise in these fields, as reflected by its recent and ongoing works in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as in Australia and Canada."
Małgorzata Winiarek-Gajewska, CEO of NDI: "This is a very interesting project and its construction will b another hydroengineering undertaking that NDI will be completing in cooperation with BESIX. We have already built together the DCT2 container terminal at the Port of Gdansk and our cooperation was very good. We will be happy to transfer our experience to this project on the Vistula Spit."

Scope of works

The works include the construction of two breakwaters, a channel, two rotating bridges over the lock, four sluice gates, buildings, landscaping as well as the adjacent roads and the soil reinforcement of the roads embankments. Also, the companies will build an 190 hectares artificial island within the Vistula Lagoon.

The channel stretches over 1.5 kilometers with a width varying from 25 to 120 meters. It is equipped with 61-meter long and 17-meter large rotating bridges, while the associated buildings will cover an area of 1.090 m². Located outside the spit in the Gdańsk Bay, the two breakwaters have respective lengths of 1,014 and 568 meters and form a protective harbor.

Works are expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2022. The joint venture will ensure the continuity of traffic on the existing provincial roads throughout the construction period.

Shipping channel through the Vistula Spit

Technical & environmental requirements

With regards to marine infrastructure works, BESIX has built multiple channels and locks in Belgium and in the Netherlands over the last 100 years. The company also builds major breakwaters and protective harbors, with recent projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. In Poland, BESIX and NDI have built amongst other the second Gdańsk Container Terminal, in 2015 – 2016.

The contractors have a renowned expertise in building infrastructure that comply with the highest environmental standards. This is the case of the Princess Mary Bridge, which has recently been inaugurated on September 28th 2019, a dual carriageway and a high bridge in a Natura 2000 area in Denmark, one of the most demanding countries regarding environmental norms. It notably required to strictly adapt the works to the vegetation and the land- and water wildlife.

Similar measures will be rigorously applied on the Vistula Spit. For example, these include to adapt the planning and the works to the birds and bats breeding seasons and to the fish-spawning periods. On a technical level, the companies will use construction technologies that drastically reduce the need for drainage construction and the range of water turbidity, as well as the working methods and equipment which cause the lowest possible amount of noise, vibrations and waves. The construction facilities and operations will also be adapted, for instance by strictly restricting them to the working area or using appropriate lighting in order to minimize disturbance for nocturnal animals (LED luminaires with an angle of inclination from 0 to 15 degrees and a temperature of 3000-4000 K).

The approximately 180 hectares artificial island will serve exclusively as a natural area, a sanctuary for the local wildlife and migratory birds.

About BESIX

BESIX is a group based in Brussels, Belgium, operating in 25 countries and on 5 continents, primarily in the construction sector. Iconic projects include Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, buildings of the European Parliament in Brussels as well as the Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Pyramid Plateau.

The group is notably specialized in the construction of marine facilities such as breakwaters, jetties, quay walls, shore protection, canals, locks and flood barriers.

BESIX also carries on major environmental projects. Its ongoing works include an energy-neutral tunnel in the Netherlands, a world first, as well as sustainable water treatment and waste recycling facilities, in the European Union as well as in the Middle East.

About NDI

NDI Group is a Polish capital group with 100-percent Polish equity interest, present on the construction market for almost 30 years. The member companies of NDI Group operate in the areas of construction, real estate development, gas & oil and power engineering.

NDI’s main line of business focuses on construction, primarily in the capacity of the General Contractor. NDI erects buildings but also specializes in the construction of infrastructure projects: roads, railway and hydroengineering projects.

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