June 15th, 2019

New construction of the 5th lock chamber Brunsbüttel

Construction site of the 5th lock chamber Brunsbüttel in June 2019 (Source: WSA Brunsbüttel)

Construction work on the new building of the 5th Brunsbüttel Lock Chamber has been underway since 2014. The lock chamber walls are constructed in sheet metal construction with a reinforced concrete superstructure based on boring piles. The new lock chamber will have a length of about 340 m and a width of 45 m.

The two lock heads are made of reinforced concrete in solid construction. The chamber sole is formed as an underwater concrete sole anchored back with piles. About 2,000 anchor piles, so-called jet piles, will re-anchor the walls and soles of the new lock chamber against earth pressure and buoyancy in the ground.

The new lock gates are manufactured in section design in Plauen and Emden and shipped to Brunsbüttel after final assembly.

Completion of the 5th lock chamber was planned for 2021. Problems in the implementation with the anchorage system and suspected areas of warfare led to delays relevant to the timing, which have an impact on the date of the traffic release. The construction schedule is under review. Following the completion of the 5th lock chamber, the existing large lock chambers will be renovated.

Current status of construction work for the first quarter of 2019

1.        Outer head

On 23 January, the underwater concrete sole (approximately 1,000m3) wasinstalled for the gate chamber. The concrete is produced on the specially built mixing plant on the lock island. It is expected to be followed by the final concrete sole starting in late summer, which will be installed in five steps with a total thickness of 280 cm. The underwater concrete sole is secured against buoyancy with squeezing piles. These re-anchoring piles with  a diameter of 150 mm reach another 28 meters deep into the upcoming soil due to the soil balancing layer.

2.       Internal head

In recent months, further concrete boring piles with a diameter of 130 cm have been introduced at the future inland head for the re-anchoring of the sole. In late autumn, part of the pit of the gate chamber was covered with prefabricated concrete elements. In this way, this area of the construction site can be used as a working platform.

3.       Lock chamber walls

Two teams are currently working on the installation of the jet piles, which anchor the pile walls of the lock chamber at a 45 degree angle up to 40 meters in the ground. About 30 percent of the piles are now ready. After the rear anchorage has been introduced, the shielding plates are gradually concreted, which later carry the lock deck. At the end of November 2018, the central area of the 300-metre-long pile wall was completed to secure the banks of the Elbe-side lock port. Since the most southwestern piece is already finished, only the approximately 80 meters that connect directly to the gate chamber of the outer head are now missing.

4.       Steel construction / lock gates

Three new sliding gates will be built for the fifth lock ridge. Their dimensions (length 47 meters/width 9.4 meters/ height 21 meters) correspond to the stock gates, which are used in the two large chambers or are kept as a reserve for this purpose. Since the design with the front lower and rear trolley is largely identical, the gates are to be used flexibly in all three large chambers after the basic repair of the old chambers. The three new gates are produced segment by segment in Plauen, Saxony. The steel segments weighing up to 80 tons are then brought to Emden by ship and low loader. There, the gates are assembled, later brought to water and balanced with concrete weights. They then come by sea to Brunsbüttel. When ready for operation, each gate weighs about 2,250 tons.

Tractebel Hydroprojekt GmbH carries out the complete planning examination, partial services of the construction management as well as further consulting services for technical and contractual questions of the client for the project.

Tim Geier – Hamburg