Van Cauwelaert Lock

The Van Cauwelaert lock is the most important access gate to the port of Antwerp (Belgium) for inland navigation vessels. It dates to 1928 and played a key role in maritime traffic. After more than 80 years the lock could barely fulfil modern requirements. Moreover, the Flemish Government had to spend between EUR 2-5 million every year for urgent maintenance works.

The lock must ensure a good connection between the Scheldt River (and its inner terminals on the Right Bank) and the Albert Canal. The lock also acts as a storm surge barrier providing protection in the event of stormy weather or high tides. As part of Antwerp’s Mobility Master Plan, it was decided to completely refurbish the lock, including the installation of 4 new lock gates. These renovations will ensure the faster and more efficient handling of inland maritime traffic in and around Antwerp. The scope of services included the development of four new locks, replacement of the electromechanical control mechanism of the existing gates, refurbishment of the existing lock walls, modification of the door chambers and the construction of two technical buildings.

Furthermore, 3 vertical shafts (depth 35m) were sunk and a cable tunnel bored under the Van Cauwelaert and Boudewijn lock. The access roads towards the lock complex were also redeveloped.

These works ensured a modern and efficient lock complex after completion of the renovation.

SBE executed the complete engineering design for the refurbishment of the lock (both preliminary and detailed design):

  • Foundations and geotechnical investigations
  • Lock gates including (electro)mechanical equipment
  • Structural and civil works (included vertical tunnel shafts)
  • Access roads
  • Coordination and inspection of the works during construction