On Sunday, a new steel arched bridge was installed over the Albert Canal in Meerhout-Vorst near Antwerp as part of a project to stimulate transport by water by increasing the height of all 62 bridges on the waterway.
Six months after the old bridge was first closed to the public, the finalised bridge, which is 123 metres long, 18 metres wide and 22 metres high, was sailed from the assembly area to its final location by pontoon.
“In the current mobility context, transport by water offers a valuable and attractive alternative to transport by road,” said Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters in a statement.
“Flanders has more than 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways and many companies are located in the immediate vicinity of our waterways. Therefore, inland navigation has to play a major role in safeguarding our mobility,” she added.
Nieuwe brug Meerhout-Vorst is onderweg naar de nieuwe brugpijlers @NieuwsMeerhout #Laakdal #viatalbert @ArcadisBelgie @swecobelgium @WillemenGroep @HyeNV_ #aelterman #frankiconstruct @Sarens #Ceftransport pic.twitter.com/1SnTk53xdD
— De Vlaamse Waterweg (@Vlaamsewaterweg) May 2, 2021
Every year, almost 40 million tonnes of goods are transported on the Albert Canal, equating to two million trucks a year or 8,000 fewer trucks on our roads every day.
“The construction of bridges over the Albert Canal never ceases to amaze and stir the imagination. And now it does again, here in Meerhout. Placing a bridge of 1,000 tonnes of steel is precision work and requires a lot of craftsmanship,” Chris Danckaerts, managing director of De Vlaamse Waterweg, said.
By the time the project is completed, the bridge will include two lanes for vehicular traffic along with separate, protected cycle paths. It is expected to open to traffic in September 2021.
The Brussels Times