The Pierre Vandamme Lock – Zeebruges

The port of Zeebruges is one of the newest and most modern seaports along the European coastline. In a few decades, the port experienced exponential growth thanks to the increased traffic in European RoRo ships and the increase in container ships in the maritime sector. The Pierre Vandamme lock measures 500 x 57 x 18.5 m, making it one of the largest locks in the world. There are double lock gates (rolling doors) installed and the lock is operational 24/7.

To enable that the port of Zeebrugge maintains its leading position, maintenance and renovation of the lock are essential. The works include the installation of a closing caisson in door chamber 2 and the drying of the door chambers. The fourth door was lifted onshore so that the lock chamber and lock gate could be renovated simultaneously. Mechanical and electromechanical components were also revised and/or replaced.

Because of the specific non-rigid construction of the door chamber walls (cell wall with an L-wall above), in addition to the drying of the door chamber, a deep drainage of the groundwater behind the quay walls was also necessary according to an imposed scheme. The settlements and horizontal displacements of the structures were calculated in a 3D geotechnical modelling and succeeded by an advanced monitoring system.

This entire operation had to take place in as short a time span as possible so that the port traffic was affected as little as possible from these works.

SBE provided the following services for this implementation study:

  • Study of the drying of the door chambers + surrounding waters (3D geotechnical modelling);
  • Design of the monitoring program and follow-up/interpretation of the measurements;
  • Layout detailed drying and intervention scenario;
  • Design for the renovation of the lock gates;
  • Design of the electromechanics of the lock gates;
  • Preparation of the tender documents;
  • Technical assistance during the execution of the work.