The Hartel Barrier is made up of two elliptical gates with a span of 49.3 metres and 98 metres respectively, which are suspended between oval towers and can be lowered and raised. The so-called barrier height when the gates are closed is three metres above NAP. After the gates have been lowered, waves may still wash over the gates, which has an unpredictable effect on the load exerted on the gates. However, due to their elliptical shape, the gates can withstand such forces.
Not made higher
The Hartel Barrier was deliberately not made any higher, because the amount of water that would wash over the barrier could not cause any problems in the hinterland, while a higher barrier could lead to flooding elsewhere in the Europoort area and to water flowing over the dike along the Brielse Maas river.
Every year, this storm surge barrier is, along with the Maeslant Barrier, tested by closing the gates to check that they are still in full working order. The first time the barrier was closed other than as part of such a functionality test was between 11.10pm on 8 November 2007 and 7.25pm on 9 November 2007 during a northwesterly storm. During this storm, both the Maeslant Barrier and the Oosterschelde Barrier were also closed. On 3 January 2018, the barrier was closed on account of another storm and high water levels. This storm also prompted the closure of the Oosterschelde Barrier, the Ramspol Barrier, the Hollandse IJssel Barrier, and the Maeslant Barrier. This was the first time in history that all of the Netherlands’ five major storm surge barriers were closed.
In 2016, the two gates and lifting cylinders were hoisted out of the Hartel Barrier, dismantled, and taken to Hollandia’s yard for maintenance, which included recoating the gates. The lifting cylinders were renovated by a third party.