A new 5th lock chamber at Brunsbüttel

The construction of the fifth lock is an essential part of the necessary renovation of the 100-year-old lock complex near Brunsbüttel. It will also provide a smooth passage of shipping traffic on the busy Kiel Canal.

In Brunsbüttel work is underway to complete a prestigious project: the expansion of the existing lock complex with a new lock chamber. The entire project includes the construction of a 360-metre sea lock between the Elbe and the Kiel Canal, and the modification of the entrance to the lock approach on the Elbe side.

Project characteristics

  • The depth of the cofferdams to be achieved is special, up to 26.5 metres below the water level.
  • Excavation of a cofferdam with a bracing frame that in turn is 4 metres below the water and not visible.
  • Work is subject to huge time pressure.

Use of our expertise

In December 2015, Martens en Van Oord was awarded the contract for the earthworks, dredging, coastal and bank protection work for the construction of a fifth lock chamber at Brunsbüttel in Germany. The contract also covered the transport and processing of all soil excavated during the work. MvO would transport this soil to the Dyhrrsenmoor soil storage site, located in marshland.

The client and party with final responsibility for the construction is a consortium of three BAM operating companies. The work started in 2016.

Lock approach

For the development of the new lock approach, Martens en Van Oord started by removing the existing rock filling of the slopes and dredging the lock approach. Following this, the new slope revetment was applied.

Lock chamber

Then we turned our attention to the earthworks and dredging work required for the construction of the fifth lock, with dimensions of 360 x 45 x 16 metres. Six cofferdams had to be excavated for the construction of the lock chamber, including the two lock heads. In turn, these once again resulted in different technical challenges. 

For the first cofferdam, the lock head on the Elbe side, BAM first inserted sheetpiling around the site down to a depth of about 35 metres. MvO then excavated 5 metres of dry soil. To keep the structure stable, a bracing frame was subsequently installed between the walls and the cofferdam was pumped full of water.

Martens en Van Oord could then continue with the wet excavation up to a depth of 26.5 metres below water level. The dry excavation of all the cofferdams was completed in March 2017.

Dyhrrsenmoor Disposal site

All soil excavated during the work on the lock approach and lock chamber will be transported to the Dyhrrsenmoor disposal site, which is located in marshland. Last year, 500,000 m3 of sand was used to make this depot suitable for the disposal of the 1.7 million m3 of soil.

The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Would you like to know more about Fifth Brunsbüttel lock chamber ?

Frank supervised the entire process. Please contact him or let him know what he can do for you in the form below and he will call you back or email a reply.

Frank Elsbeck

+31 6 211 329 48

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