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New sea lock IJmuiden (OpenIJ)

After almost 100 years of service, the existing Noordersluis (northern lock) in IJmuiden was due for replacement. The “OpenIJ” consortium received the order from Rijkswaterstaat for the construction of a new sea lock in the North Sea Canal near IJmuiden, located between the existing Noordersluis and the Middensluis. The assignment includes the design, construction, financing and maintenance of this new sea lock for 26 years. Hollandia Infra has carried out the movement work for this new lock complex for opening and closing the heavy steel lock gates. The new, larger sea lock should improve the accessibility of the port of Amsterdam and stimulate the economy in the region by providing tidal-independent space for the ever-increasing seagoing vessels. Like its predecessor the Noordersluis, this sea lock IJmuiden will be the “largest lock in the world” at the time of construction. The new sea access IJmond is part of Rijkswaterstaat’s sluice program.

Largest sea lock in the world

The new sea lock is 70 meters wide, 500 meters long and 18 meters deep, making it the largest sea lock in the world at the moment. The new sea lock is expected to be available for shipping by the end of 2022.

Upper roller carts (2 pieces)

The upper roller carriage drives the lock gate to open or close it. The upper roller carriage is now on a rail at the top of the door axle and will later be connected to the door. The dimensions of these top roller carts are 14 x 7 x 5.5 m high and each weigh 200 tons. The 2 top roller carriages are attached to the 2 operational lock gates and drive the lock gates with a total of 6 hydraulic motors. This is done by driving wheels, so-called bumpers, that engage a pin track, pushing the door back and forth over the threshold. The steelwork and mechanical parts for these upper roller carts were manufactured by Hollandia Infra on behalf of OpenIJ. The hydraulic parts were made by Bosch Rexroth and the E-installations were realized by OpenIJ. The top rollers were driven onto the pontoon at the Hollandia shipyard by means of SPMTs. After a stopover at the logistics center in the Alaskahaven in Amsterdam, where BRW’s were tested, the top roller carts were unloaded at OpenIJ and went into storage. The mounting of the top roller carriages in the front door frames resp. the outer head and the inner head were carried out during 2020 by the Hollandia Infra assembly team.

The scope for Hollandia Infra

Hollandia Infra carried out the movement work for this new lock complex to open and close the heavy steel lock gates. Hollandia has been involved in the engineering and preparation work from an early stage in the project and has made a significant contribution during the design phase for construction details and the most efficient construction method. The activities involved the design, delivery and assembly of various components for the new large sea lock, ready for operation.

This mainly includes the delivery of:

• Two upper roller carts with accessories (each 14mx7mx5.5m / 200 tons).
• Three undercarriages (including 1 spare car), two rail beams for the undercarriages (80m).
• Four foundation beams of 80m.
• Four pin tracks with rails of 80m for the top roller carriages.

The steel roller doors were contracted out by the consortium itself in South Korea and each measure 80x 12 x 24 m (lxwxh) and each weigh approximately 3,000 tonnes.

Doors drive

In collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, Hollandia has hoisted the 16 hydraulic cylinders and 2 power packs and installed them in the door of the outer head. The cylinders, each about 4 meters long and weighing 1.5 tons, will drive the 16 leveling gates used to lock the 500 x 80 meter gully. Hollandia Infra carried out this work for all three lock gates.


Building consortium & Project OpenIJ

The OpenIJ construction consortium consists of the companies BAM-PGGM and VolkerWessels-DIF. In total, in addition to the aforementioned combinations BAM-PGGM and VolkerWessels-DIF, Boskalis, Van Oord, Arcadis, Iv-Infra, Royal HaskoningDHV, Hollandia Infra, ZUS, Delta Pi, Nspyre and Bosch Rexroth also work as one team in OpenIJ at the “Sluis of the century ”for a century. The construction will be carried out on behalf of OpenIJ by the combination BAM and VolkerWessels.
The dredging activities, including dry earthmoving activities, the excavation of a part of the Zuidersluiseiland, the dredging of the new access channels (sea side and North Sea canal side), the dredging of the new Sluiskolk and the application of the new soil protection will be subcontracted by the combination. Van Oord and Boskalis. After completion, the Van Oord – Boskalis combination will also be responsible for keeping the canals at depth for a period of 26 years.

Design of the ‘lock of the century’

The new Sea Lock consists of a single chamber, with a lock head on both sides. The chamber can be closed with roller doors. In addition to a lock function, the lock complex also has a high water retaining function, as it is part of the primary flood defense of the Dutch coastline. The design life of the new lock is 100 years.

OpenIJ was able to win the contract in part by realizing smart design, which means that considerable cost savings can be achieved. A smart solution has been found by applying only 3 doors instead of 4 units. OpenIJ devised a lock with two identical doors, which are double-retaining. Then you don’t need two, but one spare door. Normally the door on the land side is a bit lower. The clever thing in the plan is that both doors meet the requirements for flood defenses – 8.85 meters above sea level, so are double-retaining. This spare door is placed in a dock near the lock. The doors are equipped with slides and openings for leveling the water level while locking.

More information

Would you like to know more about this project? Please visit the website of Rijkswaterstaat.

Photos: Ko van Leeuwen, photographer at OpenIJ