A new project essential to the development of the Seine-Scheldt river network has just been completed in Denain (Nord): after 19 months of intense activity, the work to make the lock more reliable, to modernise the adjoining dam and to create an eel ladder, launched in March 2021, has been completed.
Commissioned in 1973, the Denain lock (144.60 m long and 12 m wide), on the canalized Scheldt, is a major waterway in the large-gauge network. It allows the passage of boats loaded with up to 3,000 tonnes (Va gauge) and the transit of more than 10,000 boats and a traffic of nearly 5 million tonnes of goods each year. However, it was suffering from structural disorders, with some of its equipment being outdated.
Major work was therefore carried out by Voies navigables de France, a member of the Seine-Scheldt EEIG, to guarantee its level of service and modernise its hydraulic management. The lock has undergone major regeneration: repair of the engineering of the lock chamber, replacement of the downstream and intermediate gates, stabilisation of the earthwork and restoration of the control buildings. The adjoining dam was also renovated and an eel pass was created at the old disused lock in order to restore ecological continuity, in accordance with European obligations.
This work represented an investment of €8.6 million and received financial support from the European Union (as part of the Connecting Europe Facility – CEF), the Region Hauts-de-France (as part of the 2015-2022 State-Region Plan Contract) and the Agence de l’Eau Artois-Picardie (for the development of the eel pass).