Site in the picture: modernization of the Scheldt passage in Tournai

Soetaert has contributed to the modernization of the Scheldt crossing in Tournai, as part of the 'Seine Scheldt' project. The works started in September 2017 and the final phase was completed in April 2021. We hereby give you an overview of the foundation works :

  • Execution of the preparatory works for the construction of a new quay wall with sheet piles for a cofferdam.
  • Drilling of secant Kelly piles (diameter 1300 mm), to straighten an existing bend in the Scheldt.
  • Installation of foundations of jetties for future pleasure boats from pontoon. For the first time, we positioned the piles into the rock layers by means of a vibratory shaker box. Consequently, these were anchored several meters into the rock using the Kelly system with lost casing.
  • Lowering of both quay walls at the Pont des Trous by placing sheet piles using the same technique. This was partly executed from the banks.
  • Installing micro piles at the Pont Delwart as foundation for a future pedestrian bridge.

12 days non-stop working on the river Scheldt at Tournai

Our last challenge was installing the tube foundations (2 x 5 tubes with a diameter of 610 mm) of the two pillars for the future Pont des Trous, as well as installing 22 sheet piles with a diameter of 1067 mm. The latter will serve as guide piles in order to prevent future ships from colliding with the new Pont des Trous!

These foundation works were performed from two pontoons: drilling pontoon DN141 with drilling machine LB 36 and piling pontoon Eduard with cable crane SCX700 and vibrating hammer PVE40 for installing and vibrating the pipes. Stock pontoon Vedett was used for the supply of pipes from the construction workshops. In addition, pushers and other smaller equipment were also used. The concrete was pumped from the shore.
With such an arsenal of own equipment, shipping was impossible. We therefore had to execute the works within 12 days. The works were carried out continuously in a 4-shift system, including one weekend, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thanks to the good preparatory works, a perfect site management and motivated teams, the works were completely finished within the strict placement tolerances of 5 cm in all directions and effectively within the specified time limit.
Finally, 9 additional dolphins were placed at a bridge upstream and all equipment was subsequently removed.

The 'Seine Scheldt' is a cross border inland navigation project, in which France and Belgium cooperate to develop the European inland navigation connection between the Seine and the Scheldt basins. The aim is to allow barges to sail further into France, even as far as Paris. Currently only inland vessels of 400 to 600 tons can reach Paris via small, outdated waterways with numerous locks. By 2030, the route between Ghent and Deûlémont (French municipality near the Belgian border) will be navigable for vessels up to 4,500 tons. France will be responsible for the development of the inland waterways on French territory, and will take care of the connection towards Paris, via Lille, Cambrai and Compiègne. The SPW (Public Service of Wallonia) is responsible for the Walloon part and the Greisch design office in Liège is reponsible for the design of the works in Tournai.