Copyright Sweco

New canal and lock to be constructed with 15 000 tonnes of steel

Published: 10/19/2017 10:41:06 AM

In 2015, the government commissioned the Swedish Maritime Administration to improve maritime safety and accessibility in the waterways through Södertälje canal and Lake Mälaren. In the late summer of 2016, a contract was signed with the contractor Züblin for work on Södertälje lock and canal, which is now in full progress. Planks for sheet piling, reinforcement and other building materials are imported via Port of Södertälje.

The Mälaren project is estimated to be fully complete in 2019/2020. Then, large vessels will be able to pass through on their way to the capital and the ports in the Mälardalen region. In practice, the work in Södertälje means that the sides of the canal are reinforced with sheet piling to then be deepened to the same level of the centre of the canal. The lock will also be lengthened and widened by building a new lock and bridge.

A total of roughly 15 000 tonnes of steel will be used in the project. The steel consists mainly of sheet piles used to strengthen the sides of the canal and reinforcement for the concrete constructions that are cast. A large amount of this is taken in via Port of Södertälje. There are excellent large spaces available for interim storage and good opportunities for reloading cargo onto barges to be transported directly onto the construction production. Other building materials, such as concrete, are driven to the lock or temporary loading and unloading platforms along the canal. They are transported on to the right location using barges and ferries. Currently, more than 80 people are working on the project.

- The biggest challenge in this project is with logistics, explains Andreas Klintberg at the Swedish Maritime Administration. Commercial shipping must not affected significantly and when the work takes place from pontoons and barges it represents a significant challenge. It requires smooth cooperation between all units working along the canal to allow the work to be done safely and efficiently.

The project has many benefits. Larger vessels mean fewer vessels to freight the same quantity of goods. The transport costs are reduced and the environmental benefits increase when it is possible to receive modern tonnage to a greater extent constructed with greater environmental requirements. It is also possible to transfer cargo to shipping that currently goes by road and rail. In this way, congestion on roads and railways is reduced at the same time as increasing the safety within the transport system overall.

- We are also collaborating with Södertälje Municipality to construct new and improved pedestrian and cycle paths along the sides of the canal and pedestrian bridges, says Andreas. We will create new meeting points and seating groups along the canal to allow local residents and visitors to Södertälje to enjoy the water and the beautiful surroundings.

Both before and during the project, the Swedish Maritime Administration has been careful to inform and include the public in the Mälaren project. Among other things, a visiting platform has been built to allow those who are interested to follow the work in the southern parts of the lock. It has been open to the public since last summer and offers a wonderful view over the canal. The Swedish Maritime Administration has offered to let Södertälje Municipality take over the platform once the Mälaren project is complete. It will also continue to be possible to follow the work on the north lock door on Slussholmen, from a slightly smaller visiting platform.

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