Advanced automation of a unique rolling bascule bridge

Scheepsdale bridge

The Scheepsdale Bridge in Bruges is part of the N9 and spans the Bruges- Ostend canal. Over the centuries, this site has seen a succession of different bridges. In the 1920s, a swing bridge was built by engineer Arthur Vierendeel. In 2007 the Flemish Region decided to completely replace the outdated swing bridge with a new bridge with an entirely new control mechanism. The bridge was demolished in 2009 and replaced by a new one over the period from 2009 to 2011.

Successful temporary partnership wins the contract

The customer, Waterwegen & Zeekanaal, put out an open call for tenders for the works. The Temporary Trading Company consisting of Depret – Burgerlijke Bouwkunde – VBSC Staal – Agidens won the contract. Within the partnership, Agidens was responsible for electrical, mechanical and hydraulic controls and the associated automation, visualisation and remote controls.

A rolling bascule bridge, the first of its kind in Belgium

For the design of the new bridge, the customer, Waterwegen & Zeekanaal, opted for an advance rolling lift model. The bridge’s impressive rocker arms immediately catch the eye. The lifting motion goes along the longitudinal axis of the bridge over the rocker arms, across the axis of the canal. In this design, the bridge does not pivot around a fixed hinge point, but rather a moving one, consisting of a curved section that rolls onto the substructure. According to the client, Waterwegen & Zeekanaal, this rolling bascule bridge is the first of its kind in Belgium.

Because the bridge lies across the waterway, Agidens had to use two separate ballast boxes. This was made possible by integrating two hydraulic jacks, which ensured the perfect parallel motion for the bridge. For the bridge controls, Agidens designed a highvoltage board and low-voltage board meeting the latest standards and fitted out with a Mitsubishi PLC and a Citect visualisation system. Agidens also integrated all of the bridge’s controls into the pre-existing remote control unit.

Phased project

Phase 1

The first phase included demolition of the road bridge. During the demolition phase and the construction of the new bridge, Agidens conducted the study on the bridge. In addition to this, the bridge was also incorporated into the control concept for the existing lock, which had not yet been modernised at that time.

Phase 2

In the second phase, our partner Depret NV renovated all concrete structures. During the renovation, Agidens, along with our partner VBSC, implemented the design of the new bridge structure. The mechanics, hydraulics and controls were meticulously harmonised with one another.

Phase 3

In phase 3, the bridge was shipped in, taking into account the maximum traffic stoppages imposed by the specifications. The partnership successfully executed this difficult operation ahead of schedule, which minimised the level of inconvenience on the canal.

Phase 4

In the final phase, Agidens started the bridge up with the necessary test documents and control measurements to guarantee flawless bridge functioning.

Less delays for shipping and road traffic

The new rolling lift bridge is 43m long and 19m wide with 15mhigh rocker arms, good up to a total weight of 1,070 tonnes. For road traffic, there are now two lanes for motor vehicle traffic and one free bus lane. Separate from these on either side are wide bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.

For shipping traffic, the central structure of the swing bridge has been eliminated, which increased the clearance width from 16 to 29m. Both shipping and road traffic delays have been greatly reduced thanks to the faster tipping mechanism. On Friday 27 May 2011, Minister Hilde Crevits and Mayor Patrick Moenaert opened the new Scheepsdale Bridge.