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Developing the eastern section of the Kiel Canal, Schleswig-Holstein

The Kiel Canal was commissioned in late 1895, saving passenger and cargo vessels the long route around the northern tip of Denmark ever since. And this shortcut is in great demand. Today, the direct waterway between Brunsbüttel and Kiel is the busiest canal in the world. However, in recent years, the Kiel Canal has been facing major challenges due to increasing ship traffic and vessel sizes. In particular, the eastern section between the Königsförde passing points and Holtenau inland port has become a major shipping bottleneck.

The facts.

WK Consult deliverables:
Project planning
Structural design
Geotechnical consultancy

Construction volume:
approx. EUR 55 million

The task.

In order to satisfy the increasing demands on efficient goods transport, the Kiel Canal needs to be straightened out and broadened in the critical area west of Kiel to allow larger vessels to pass through.

The solution developed must achieve the greatest possible benefit for safe navigation while also minimising interference with nature and the landscape. In-depth preliminary studies pointed to a realisation option that takes both aspects into account.

The task is to broaden the canal in the eastern section between and to flatten the tight bends significantly. Specifically, this means: over a distance of approx. 11 km the canal bed will be broadened to a minimum width of 70 m and the canal embankment will be reconstructed thereafter. The radius of each bend is increased to 3,000 m in order to eliminate shipping bottlenecks. The selected and preferred option – which achieves the greatest possible benefit for safe navigation while minimising interference with nature and the landscape – involves the enlargement of only one side of the canal which is realised in several planning segments. WK Consult is preparing the draft execution documentation and the tender documentation for the "Königsförde straight" and "Groß Nordsee curve" sections (km 79.9–84.1). The initial measures include no modification of water depth.

Excavation works to a depth of –11.20 mNHN will remove approx. 2.4 million m³ of soil (thereof 1.1 million m³ of wet matter and 1.3 million m³ of dry matter). Sampling is designed, put out for tender and supervised for the off-site disposal of excavated material and renaturation materials. Target locations for the material include terrestrial spoil grounds and the Baltic Sea, and it will be used in the noise protection wall along the federal motorway.

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