Home Ports & TerminalsCanals New invention from Royal HaskoningDHV ends traffic congestion caused by bridge openings

New invention from Royal HaskoningDHV ends traffic congestion caused by bridge openings

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Open Haringvliet Bridge in the Netherlands to allow sailing boats to pass. (c) Royal HaskoningDHV

Open Haringvliet Bridge in the Netherlands to allow sailing boats to pass. (c) Royal HaskoningDHV

A major road bridge with no need to open because ships ‘submerge’ under it – this is the new Tilting Lock invented by Dutch engineers at Royal HaskoningDHV

Amersfoort, the Netherlands, 10 September 2014 – Major bridges that move to allow sailing yachts to pass beneath them,  like the Zeeland Bridge in the Netherlands, are causing daily traffic congestion when they open for the boats, peaking during the summer season. To resolve this problem, international engineering and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV has invented the Tilting Lock – designed to allow boats to ‘submerge’ under the bridge instead of it opening for them to pass under.

The Tilting Lock (Kantelsluis) is a floating structure which has two separate water filled channels with space for five yachts at a time. When the lock is level, the water surface in both channels is 4 metre lower than the water in the river. To start service the lock will tilt in order to raise the level of one of the channels to meet the water level outside the Tilting Lock.

Adding 8 metre vertical clearance
Mr Carolus Poldervaart, a Royal HaskoningDHV designer: “Once the yacht is in the channel, the lock will tilt and ‘submerge’ the boat by 8 metre. After the boat has passed under the bridge the lock reverts to its original position to level the water inside and outside the channel again. This way almost all yachts will be able to pass under busy movable bridges without the bridge having to open. No more waiting traffic, no more waiting boats.”

The Tilting Lock does not pump water and no weight is being displaced. It remains in position, with tilting being the only movement. Mr Poldervaart explains: “The tilting motion is restricted, mainly to guarantee that the sides of the lock do not touch the mast of the boat.”

Energy use: equivalent to four hours light from an ecolamp
The energy used by the Tilting Lock is extremely low. Mr Poldervaart continues: “The lock tilts 32 degrees in three minutes and it takes 30 seconds to set the tilting ‘in motion’. In normal weather conditions this uses 0.04 kWh – as little as an ecolamp needs to burn for four hours.” Stopping the tilting produces energy, as do the solar panels on the lock. This energy will be used to tilt the lock and for lighting, as well as opening and closing the lock doors.

The lock will be made of steel and will be built at a wharf and then transported to its final location, enabling 15 to 30 ‘oversized’ yachts per hour to pass the bridge without it opening. Capacity may vary depending on width and length of the lock. Smaller sailing and motor yachts will still be able to pass the bridge as normal.

Benefits higher than the costs
The investment for building such a lock is €60 million, depending on size, but the benefits will be enormous. A cost/benefit analysis predicts that the Titling Lock at another busy Dutch opening bridge, the Haringvlietbrug, will yield €100 million over a period of 25 years, with a pay-back time of 12 years.

Applicable as ordinary lock
The Tilting Lock can also be used as an energy efficient ordinary lock with no water being lost when moving ships from higher to lower water levels – a persistent problem in canal systems that are dependent on rainwater to maintain sufficient water depth.

Tilting Lock images:


Top left: Sailing boats waiting to enter the Titling Lock
Top right: Sailing boats enter the Titling Lock
Bottom left: Sailing boats pass under the bridge
Bottom right: View from sailing boat in the Titling Lock
© Royal HaskoningDHV

Video Tilting Lock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3R4Yd0-kdo&feature=youtu.be

Royal HaskoningDHV is an independent, international engineering and project management consultancy with more than 130 years of experience in aviation, buildings, energy, industry, infrastructure, maritime, mining, rural and urban areas, and water. Backed by the expertise and experience of 6, 500 colleagues from 100 offices in 35 countries, our professionals combine global expertise with local knowledge to deliver a multidisciplinary range of consultancy services for the entire living environment. By showing leadership in sustainable development and innovation, together with our clients, we are working to become part of the solution to a more sustainable society now and into the future.
See for more information our website royalhaskoningdhv.com.

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