Albert canal bridges

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Through the construction of 15 new bridges andlocal widening works, we are contributing to a capacity increase for the Albert Canal. The client particularly appreciated our creative financing solution and our efforts to carry out the work with minimum disruption to all stakeholders.

The Albert Canal, the most important waterway in Flanders with an annual goods transport volume for 40 million tons, is crossed by 62 bridges. Every one of these bridges forms a bottleneck for inland navigation as they aren’t high enough, and the canal is not wide enough underneath. De Vlaamse Waterweg is eliminating all of these bottlenecks by raising all bridges to a clearance height of 9.10 metres, and by widening the canal to 85 metres. Due to the complexity of the locations involved, De Vlaamse Waterweg decided to bundle these alteration works at 15 sites along the Albert Canal into two public-private partnerships. As part of these PPPs, the client started looking for partners to design, build and finance the new bridges and surrounding infrastructure, and to maintain them for a period of 30 years (DBFM).

Together with HYE and Aelterman, Franki Construct and Willemen Infra set up a consortium called Via T Albert. The consortium then developed proposals for both PPP clusters in which it offered complete and pragmatic solutions to the challenges faced by De Vlaamse Waterweg. Willemen Project Finance also chipped in to develop a sound project financing proposal. This approach proved successful, as the consortium of contractors signed its first DBFM contract with the canal manager in 2017 for the reconstruction of seven bridges. Following a successful partnership on the first cluster, an order for the design, construction, finance (EPC) and 30-year maintenance of a further eight bridges located in Beringen, Paal-Tervant, Meerhout-Vorst, Lummen, Oelegem, Herentals, Kuringen and Schoten followed in April 2019 (Cluster 2).

Willemen Infra is a leading, Belgian road construction company with a regional presence in both Flanders and Wallonia. An important asset is that we have all aspects of the construction process under our own management and thus fully control the execution. Moreover, our team of 1,000 well-trained and experienced employees are willing to work at night and over the weekend to make sure they get everything done in time. In addition, thanks to our own COPRO-certified production and recycling sites, we are one of the leading producers for asphalt and road concrete.

Since 1998 Franki Construct has been part of Willemen Groep, the largest family construction group in Belgium.



Project Details

De Vlaamse Waterweg
Temporary partnership 
Via T Albert (Franki Construct, Willemen Infra, Hye, Aelterman)
Engineering Office 
Arcadis, Sweco, Greisch
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