By pressing the red button, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, officially started the construction of a new sea lock at IJmuiden, the Netherlands.
The lock chamber will be 70 meters wide, 500 meters long and 18 meters deep, giving excess to the Port of Amsterdam to larger sea vessels by 2019 when it is scheduled to be ready.
This sea lock at IJmuiden will become the biggest sea lock in the world as it will be 2 meters wider than the world’s current biggest lock, the Kieldrecht lock in Antwerpen, Belgium.
Minister Schultz said: “This mega project is a wonderful example of inventive engineering. The new lock is built on a very small area between the other locks that will remain open all the time.”
“The new lock ensures better accessibility to the Port of Amsterdam so it can maintain its position in Europe and possibly become the third largest port in Europe.”
The responsibility for the construction, as well as 26-year maintenance of the sea lock, is in the hands of consortium OpenIJ, including construction firms BAM and Volker-Wessels and financiers PGGM (pension fund) and DIF (investor).
The whole project has been budgeted for 815 million euro.
The groundbreaking event took place on 7 September.