The Nete river railway bridges form a key section of the high speed line between Brussels and Antwerp, crossing over an important inland waterway and continuing on into the Netherlands.
However, as the bridges were unsuitable for high speed rail travel (up to 160 km/h), the decision was taken to build a new bridge and improve an existing one. As part of their overall plan to improve inland shipping in the area and remove key bottlenecks, Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV, the Flemish waterway authority, requested the new bridge to be constructed at a height that would ensure a clearance of 7 m and the second bridge to be raised to the same level.
This project contained the most important activities of the first phase of the works. The activities included were:
- construction of a supporting wall at Duffel on line 25
- construction of the second supporting wall and the road construction at Duffel on line 25
- structural works on the new railway bridge over the Nete on line 27
- railway, overhead wire and signal works for the construction of the provisional lines between the Duffel railway station and the Nete bridges
Benefits of the project
By raising these bridges, Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV wants to further promote inland shipping in this area, in order to allow vessels with a higher level of containers to pass along the waterway. This would result in a better economic return and help to make inland shipping more competitive in relation to road transport.
Raising the bridges over the Nete is the only action required to upgrade this river to a class Va waterway and no works have to be carried out on the river itself. With the raising of the two bridges, only two further barriers remain to attain sufficient clearance height on the entire waterway line. Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV has already started a first feasibility study to examine the raising of these obstacles: the road bridges at Walem and Duffel.
In the long run, once these two remaining road bridges are replaced, the Beneden-Nete section and the Netekanaal will be navigable for ships up to 2,000 tonnes and/or carrying three levels of containers. This is important as it creates an alternative shipping route between the Schelde river and the Albertkanaal, avoiding the port of Antwerp, as well as between the Albertkanaal and the port of Antwerp, in case of an obstruction, thus improving the network’s reliability.
The overall project facilitates inland shipping in the area, by allowing a higher level of containers, and therefore a better economic return, and improving the reliability of the network.
The old railway bridge will be demolished at the end of the overall project in 2013. Together with the raising of the road bridges in Walem and Duffel, this will lead to the upgrade of the entire waterway, and thus promote sustainable transport in the region.
|Click map for enlarged version|
Info and links
Member States involved:
Start date: May 2009
End date: December 2010
Beneficiaries & Implementing bodies:
Vlaamse Overheid - Beleidsdomein Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken
Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV
Visit the info page about this project