Scheldt Tunnel to be Built Using Immersed Tunnel Method
The 1.8 km long Scheldt tunnel will be built using the immersed tunnel method. This method shortens the overall construction time considerably and is one of the most ingenious construction methods in concrete and hydraulic engineering. Gerrit Van Den Bossche works as a civil engineer for Jan De Nul and coordinates the design team of the Scheldt tunnel for TM COTU. The eight tunnel elements, each weighing about 60,000 tons, will be built in the inner port of Zeebrugge over the next two years before being towed to Antwerp through the North Sea and the Western Scheldt while floating. Once they have arrived in Antwerp, they will be lowered one by one into a pre-dredged trench in the Scheldt. The tunnel elements are kept afloat through the use of temporary bulkheads.
The Scheldt tunnel has eight tunnel elements, seven of which will connect to the entrance on the left bank and one on the right bank. In other words, between the seventh and eighth tunnel element, the closing joint will be the very last one. “For this, we will place a special submerged formwork around the partition between elements 7 and 8, after which the water in the space between the elements will be pumped out in order to concrete the closing joint