WORLD’S LARGEST COMPOSITE LOCK GATES
Earlier this year, highly innovative composite lock gates were installed in the Wilhelmina Canal in Tilburg (The Netherlands) under direction of Heijmans. These huge lock gates (6.2 x 12.9 m) were manufactured by FiberCore Europe with resins from Aliancys. The installation was relatively easy, because of the low weight of the parts in comparison with steel and wood. The composite solution was chosen for its extended lifetime expectancy (over 80 years), great durability in continued contact with water, and minimal requirement for maintenance.
FIT FOR THE FUTURE
The Wilhelmina Canal is an important water way in the South of the Netherlands, and a vital part of the transportation infrastructure. In order to keep up with the increasing water traffic and increasing size of the ships (up to Class IV), the Wilhelmina Canal is being widened and deepened near the city of Tilburg. The project has been commissioned by the Dutch water way authorities (Rijkswaterstaat), and is executed by a combination of construction companies Heijmans and Boskalis. Installation of the lock gates was done by the construction company Hillebrand.
After project completion, the large vessels should be able to sail through this section much faster. This means less heavy traffic on the roads, reduced road congestion and consequently reduced emissions of CO₂ and particulates. The improvements to the canal will also create additional economic opportunities in the South of the Netherlands, as businesses are increasingly using the canal network for delivery of products.
As part of the larger project, the existing locks II and III are replaced by a single new lock. Also, new sheet piling is installed along the canal sides and a more environmentally banks are being developed.