Skippers who sail on the Merwede can enjoy a good night’s rest thanks to four new overnight berths in the refuge harbour in Gorinchem.

From 14 December onward, skippers who sail on the Merwede can enjoy a good night’s rest thanks to four new overnight berths in the refuge harbour in Gorinchem. The locations were realised by Van den Herik and Strukton on behalf of Rijkswaterstaat.

More ships – but also larger ships – are now sailing over the Boven, Beneden and Nieuwe Merwede. The realisation of the four new overnight berths in Gorinchem will prevent an accommodation shortage on the route, which is bordered on the west by Hardinxveld-Giessendam and Werkendam and on the east by Woudrichem. Thanks to the extra overnight berths, skippers can now comply with the statutory sailing and resting times.

Dredging, sheetpile quay wall and footbridge
This job took more than six months to complete. On the west side of the harbour, we realised a sheetpile quay wall with fender wood where two ships can safely moor. The refuge harbour was dredged to ensure that the water is deep enough for the ships. Then the harbour bed was protected with ‘fascining’ – mats made of willow twigs and geotextiles – and rubble to keep it in place. We also realised a mooring facility for another two ships. This consists of several mooring posts with a floating jetty in between. And to ensure that the skippers – who moor on the east side – can easily come ashore, a floating jetty was realised in the direction of the dike, with a footbridge leading to the dike.

According to plan
A great result for the skippers, and finished right on time. Despite the coronavirus measures, the project was realised according to plan. ‘We started preparing the site in early March and the corona crisis started soon after,’ says Stefan Rozeboom, Project Manager for Van den Herik – Strukton. ‘Together with Rijkswaterstaat, we weighed up all the pros and cons and decided to start anyway.’ Rozeboom is happy that this decision was made jointly with Rijkswaterstaat. ‘I think that's how it should be: as a client and contractor, you create a project together.’

Joining forces
Van den Herik and Strukton joined forces for this project. Van den Herik is a long-established hydraulic contractor, while Strukton’s focus is on realising infrastructure solutions. A strong combination of knowledge and expertise to ensure the best possible result for the client. This strength is also evident from their joint procurement of the next contract for Rijkswaterstaat: the realisation of overnight accommodation in Bergambacht. This project will start in early 2021.

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