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Renewed and energy-neutral lock and weir on the Leie in Harelbeke

27 October 2020

EQUANS, together with its construction partners, has carried out major infrastructure works on the Leie in Harelbeke. Result: smoother shipping traffic flow, green electricity, and a better layout of the city centre.

On behalf of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, the joint venture Leieland, consisting of EQUANS, Herbosch-Kiere, Jan De Nul, and Aelterman, has been working on the renovation and modernisation of the lock, the waterway, and the surroundings along the Leie in Harelbeke for the past five years. The old lock was replaced by a larger one, which will make shipping traffic smoother; a hydroelectric power station was built to supply the city with green electricity; the High Bridge was raised; and the surrounding area was redeveloped, resulting in better access for cyclists and pedestrians. EQUANS was responsible for the electromechanical tech aspects of the works. This project is therefore fully in line with EQUANS’ strategy to contribute to the transition to (more) sustainable energy and mobility solutions.

More efficient waterways

This project is part of the European subsidised inland navigation project Seine Schelde Vlaanderen (Seine Scheldt Flanders). Thanks to these large-scale infrastructure works, longer barges with larger cargoes can sail between Paris and Antwerp. The Leie in Harelbeke was adapted to the arrival of longer ships. The new lock is 230 metres long, consists of 2 sections, and allows ships up to 4,500 tons to sail on the Leie. A hydraulically driven segment weir has been constructed for fully automatic regulation of the level of the Leie so as to prevent flooding or to ensure that the water level remains high enough for shipping. EQUANS was responsible for all the electromechanical equipment for the new inland lock: HV, LV, and UPS installations, mechanical and oleo-hydraulic equipment, screen operating and control system (PLC), remote monitoring and communication systems (call system, marine telephony, telephony), etc.

employés barrage éclusé
salle machine barrage éclusé

Greater unity within the city

In addition to the renovation and modernisation of the lock and weir, the temporary consortium Leieland carried out works on the waterway and the surrounding area along the Leie River. The public spaces and living environment were arranged around the city centre on the Leie. For example, the rotating bicycle and pedestrian bridge will better connect both banks of Harelbeke and increase the unity of the city. EQUANS was responsible for the rotating bridge and the installation of public lighting on roads and cycle paths, as well as the architectural lighting of the bridge and the squares.

Green power and fish migration route

A hydroelectric power station has also been constructed at this innovative lock, which will generate the necessary green power to enable the lock complex to operate in an energy-neutral manner. For this purpose, the lock was equipped with a pumping station with two Archimedes’ screws and turbine operation to ensure sustainable energy generation. A large fish migration route was also constructed to allow the fish to swim up and down the Leie River to support fish stocks.

salle machine barrage éclusé
salle de contrôle barrage éclusé

Awarded the Publica Awards by the public

Last but not least, the Leie works in Harelbeke were awarded the Publica Awards. The Publica Awards reward the best public projects, and this year, this project was selected as the best public project in the category ‘Urban Development, Infrastructure & Mobility’ by online voting. It’s a great reward for EQUANS and its partners, who spent five years working on this project.

230 m
Length of the new inland shipping lock
12.5 m
Width of the new inland shipping lock
4.7 m
Depth of the new inland shipping lock
230 m
Length of the new inland shipping lock
12.5 m
Width of the new inland shipping lock
4.7 m
Depth of the new inland shipping lock
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