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THV COTU consortium wins €570m contract to build tunnel in River Scheldt in Antwerp

LANTIS, the project developer responsible for the prestigious ‘Oosterweel link’, which will complete the Antwerp Ring Road, has awarded the contract for the construction of the Scheldt tunnel to the Tijdelijke Handelsvennootschap Combinatie Oosterweeltunnel (THV COTU) consortium.

THV COTU is composed of the Belgian construction groups DEME, BESIX, BAM Contractors and Jan De Nul. The contract value is €570 million.

Known as the jewel in the crown of the crucial infrastructure project, the Scheldt tunnel will be the most important connecting element in the Oosterweel link and closes the Antwerp Ring Road on the north side. The tunnel has a total length of 1,800 metres and will be built according to the ‘immersed tube’ method.

Eight tunnel elements of approximately 60,000 tonnes each will be built in the inner port of Zeebrugge and then towed to Antwerp via the North Sea and the Western Scheldt, where they will be immersed in a pre-dredged trench in the River Scheldt in Antwerp.

The technique, in which gravity and the upward force of water are constantly competing with each other, is one of the most ingenious building methods in concrete and hydraulic construction.

THV COTU is aware of the challenges that such a project brings with it in a technically difficult environment such as the Scheldt. However,  the consortium partners are confident they have the necessary expertise and decades of experience to successfully achieve the realisation of this vital stage of the Oosterweel link project.

The first preparatory work will start in the autumn of 2020. Construction work for the tunnel itself will begin after the summer of 2021.

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