Home Our projects Infra Automation High-tech movable pedestrian and cyclist bridge

High-tech movable pedestrian and cyclist bridge

Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV - Belgium
Market Infra Automation
Scope Bridges
Country Belgium

Over the next fifteen years, the area surrounding the three oldest docks of Ghent will turn into a completely new waterfront neighbourhood. About 1,500 new homes will be built in the area between the Dampoort and the Muide neighbourhood, with green and open spaces, recreational facilities, employment, shops and public facilities. New pedestrian and cyclist bridges and moving the ring road to the Afrikalaan and Koopvaardijlaan ensure a perfect connection to the historic centre. Ghent gains another vibrant area!

Following a public tender, Flemish waterways authority Waterwegen en Zeekanaal (W&Z) has tasked Herbosch Kiere with building three pedestrian and cyclist bridges. The first bridge, the Batavia Bridge, has now been completed. Herbosch-Kiere engaged Agidens for the automation part.

High-tech control for safe passage

There is still shipping traffic near the Oude Dokken (“Old Docks”) area. Because W&Z did not want to interrupt the connection between the two banks, it opted for a bridge that is not closed in case of passing shipping traffic.

This revolutionary approach requires a high level of security because motion control is critical when there are people on the bridge during movement. Because there are very stringent requirements on the horizontality of the roadway and the control of the movement, high-tech control technology had to be applied. The fact that the bridge had to be accessible during movement and at the highest setting, made this project a special challenge. The development of a safe and efficient drive was crucial.

Motion control with minimal tilt

Because the bridge must always be passable when in motion and in rest in the highest position, several special control measures have been included in this design. The movement of the bridge is subject to a number of stringent requirements:

  • The speed of movement must always be controlled
  • The maximum discrepancy between the two banks must be limited to 10 mm over a span of 14,250 mm (a tilt of only 0.07%)

Since the available amount of power leaves little room in relation to the drive capacities, Agidens developed an inventive solution. For example, the hydraulic groups are started with a fux vector controller to limit the starting currents to Inom. This soft start, together with a high-quality hydraulic servo control from Bosch Rexroth, ensures optimal movement comfort, safety and manageability. During movement the maximum tilt is limited to 1 mm in 98% of cases and to 3 mm in 100% of cases. A great example of motion control.

Four-way control

The bridge can be operated in four ways:

  • With the SCADA control in the basement
  • With the button control in the basement
  • By means of a wireless control console in the vicinity of the bridge (up to 50 m)
  • Through remote control over glass fibre from the RIS


  • Low-voltage installation with strong and light current
  • Risk analysis and risk-reducing measure
  • General low-voltage board with four-quadrant fux vector drive technology
  • PLC and SCADA control and visualisation
  • Redundant hydraulic servo on two jacks of 1,000 kN each
  • Mechanical cardanic suspension of the jacks
  • Energy-efficient architectural LED lighting
  • Shipping signals and signposting, shipping detection with laser technology
  • Automated audio communication
  • Remote control

Project and installation data

  • Customer: Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV
  • Location: Oude Dokken (Ghent)
  • Type of infrastructure: Movable pedestrian and cyclist bridge
  • Sales date: December 2011
  • Completion date: June 2012
  • Contract value: 1.000.000 euros
  • Scope: 
    • E&I
    • Scada
    • Project management
    • Mechanics
    • Hydraulics
    • Controls
    • Studies