The drought is still continuing, despite the recent rain showers. Among other things, this has reduced the water level of the Rhine to historically low levels and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management is forced to take additional measures to prevent further salinisation in the Netherlands. One of the measures for the North Sea Canal is the installation of two bubble barriers in the Noordersluis lock.
This weekend, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management will install these two bubble barriers in the Noordersluis lock (on the outside and the inside of the lock). The bubble barriers form a vertical curtain of bubbles that slows the inflow of salt water. As a result, less salt water will flow in per passage.
Noordersluis lock to be closed for several hours for the installation of the bubble barriers
The Noordersluis lock will be closed from 07:00 to 11:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00 on Saturday 1 September to allow for the installation of the bubble barriers. The barriers will be operational from Monday 3 September at 14:00. Additional towing capacity will be on stand-by in the first days of operation. An assessment will be made on Thursday 6 September to establish the effects on shipping and whether additional towing capacity is still needed.
Noordersluis lock doors to close faster
The Central Nautical Management will also change the passage regime at the Noordersluis lock. This relates to the scheduled maintenance work on the Middle Lock, which will be closed from 07:00 on 30 August to 16:00 on 29 September, and the minimising of exchange of fresh water for salt water in the lock chamber. The closure of the Middle Lock means that larger ships can only pass through the Noordersluis lock. The change to the regime means that the Noordersluis lock doors will be closed faster, instead of waiting until the lock is full. This means that shipping needs to take account of a waiting time of up to 1.5 hours, as is now the case.
The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management has this morning published a press release on the subject. How the bubble barrier actually works can be seen in the animation produced for Port of Amsterdam and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management.