Despite the ongoing Corona situation, the first groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the replacement of the Rodde and Venhaus locks took place on 22.10.2020. Since 2009, Tractebel Hydroprojekt GmbH has been jointly responsible for the planning of the five new locks together with its partners in the engineering community "INGE-Dortmund-Ems-Kanal".
For the Rodde and Venhaus sites in particular, many of the challenging planning tasks – including the massive construction of the locks, the lock construction pits, the slingshotports and the planned open water pipelines – were taken over by Tractebel Hydroprojekt. In addition, there were other engineering services such as planning the construction monitoring of the new and old locks during and after the construction period.
Although the celebrations could only take place on a smaller scale in the wake of the Corona pandemic, the event was attended by representatives of the Waterway New Construction Office Datteln and the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer, Lower Saxony's Transport Minister Dr. Bernd Althusmann, the State Secretary in the NRW Transport Ministry Dr. Hendrik Schulte, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Directorate-General for Waterways and Shipping, as well as some guests.
Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer emphasized: "Even if times change, one thing remains constant: the importance of the DEK for the economy, transport and, above all, the people of the region. [...] We are currently investing EUR 630 million in the expansion and maintenance of the canal to ensure that it continues to fulfil this important task in the future."
Minister Althusmann also assured in his keynote speech: "We will continue to work for the fastest possible construction of all five locks on the Dortmund-Ems-Canal. If you want to unload roads, you have to upgrade railways and waterways. Our goal is the continuous navigability for large motor goods ships in the North German waterway network and the good accessibility of the seaports in the Dutch-Lower-Saxon Ems-Dollart region."
This was also confirmed by Dr. Hendrik Schulte, State Secretary in the Ministry of Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "The aim of the state government is to transport more goods by ship. The prerequisite for efficient inland navigation is intact waterways. The construction of the locks on the Dortmund-Ems Canal makes an important contribution. Now it is important to keep up the pace. North Rhine-Westphalia is committed to an action plan for waterways, which will structure and accelerate the projects. That's how we move forward."
In the future, the DEK will be able to be trafficked continuously with modern large-scale cargo vessels of up to 135 metres in length. With the replacement of the locks in future-proof dimensions, the prerequisites for this are created.
Construction work at the Gleesen site began two years ago. Now the locations Rodde and Venhaus are added. The Hesselte and Bevergern sites will follow. It is currently planned that the construction work will take place at up to three locations in parallel.
According to current knowledge, the planned completion of all five lock sites is in 2033.
Alexander Jarisch - Weimar