Everybody knows that the construction of the IJmuiden New Sea Lock is now well underway. But what not many people know is that the operating and control systems of the existing locks at IJmuiden and Schellingwoude, and those of the pumping and sluicing station at IJmuiden and of the bridge at Schellingwoude have also been renewed.
The new control systems guarantee reliable lock and bridge passages for shipping traffic. But that is not the only benefit of the renewal. Also included in the so-called migration project was the installation of a fish ladder that provides a safe passage to and from the North Sea for fish like glass eel, silver eel, three-spined stickleback, smelt, and flounder.
To guarantee the reliability of the IJmuiden and Schellingwoude lock complexes in the North Sea Canal, Rijkswaterstaat has renewed the operating and control systems of these objects. The project also included the integration of these systems into the new control stations. It means that all software systems have been completely replaced. The entire migration - i.e. removal plus renewal - of all these systems has taken more than 5 years. An important part of this project was the design of the new control stations. Specific design requirements were established for the control software, the layout of the control screens, and the new control stations. The key requirement was that they must be logical and easy to use for operators of both the existing lock complexes and the new sea lock at IJmuiden.
Julian Sallows, Nautical Advisor of Port of Amsterdam, explained, "What we did not want was, for instance, an operating button on the control panel of the existing lock being placed on the left hand side and the corresponding button on the panel of the new lock on the right hand side. That would be confusing and therefore unsafe. So for all the locks, a clear and unambiguous way of operating had to be designed".
During the realisation of the migration project, disruptions to shipping traffic have been kept to a minimum as much as possible. For this purpose, the parties concerned - Port of Amsterdam and Rijkswaterstaat - have worked closely together. This has resulted in completely new operating and control systems of the lock complexes at IJmuiden and Schellingwoude. The IJmuiden North Lock is now remotely controlled from the pumping station and the pumping station itself is remotely controlled from Schellingwoude. To this end, a completely new camera system has been installed.
Fish ladder at the IJmuiden Small Lock
The modifications to the Small Lock for the installation of the fish ladder were also part of the operating and control system migration project. Rijkswaterstaat has modified the Small Lock in an innovative way to make it possible that both ships and fish can pass through the lock. For this purpose they found clever solutions by making use of the existing slides and lock gates. An automatic control system puts the slides in the right positions to allow the fish to pass through the lock from the North Sea to the North Sea Canal or vice versa.
In a similar way, Rijkswaterstaat will also make use of the other locks along the North Sea Canal to enable fish migration. This is one of Rijkswaterstaat's measures to achieve the objectives of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). The WFD measures are directed at the restoration of natural habitats and to ensure that waters are kept clean and healthy.