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The Société du Canal Seine-Nord Europe (SCSNE) recently announced that the design of the 6 new locks of the Seine-Nord Europe canal is awarded to the One group (Égis, Ingérop, SBE, ISL, Michel Desvigne Paysage and AEI Architecture).

SBE, partner of the Joint Venture One will design the new locks of the Seine-Nord Europe Canal

SBE, together with its partners, is taking charge of the design of the six main locks of the Seine-Nord Europe Canal, three of which will be among the highest locks in Europe. Some of the challenges that face the technical teams include among others the cut and fill earthworks balances (excavations and embankments up to 30m high!), limiting the use of concrete and optimizing the sailing times of boats.

The Seine-Nord Europe canal is the central link in the priority European Seine-Nord project. This project consists of the construction of a wide-gauge river link (CEMT class Vb) between France and the Northern European networks within the multimodal North Sea-Mediterranean corridor to better link the sea and inland ports of Northern France and Europe.

The six large locks have a lifting height varying between 13 and 26 meters. These structures will allow convoys to be transported from the Paris region in the south to the river network in northern France and then to Europe. The Joint Venture is responsible for the execution of the design studies (planned over 3 years), as well as supervision during the works (more than 6 years).

Structures essential for river traffic

The locks are structures that allow boats to cross a topographic decline, in a manner similar to crossing the steps of a staircase. The maximum lifting height of the locks of new canal is limited, so that the time to cross each lock does not exceed 30 minutes. This transit time depends on the number of boats that are channeled during the day and therefore on the power capacity. An additional intermediate lock, also designed by the consortium One, will be needed in Allaines (Somme) to allow the connection of the Canal du Nord with the new Seine-Nord Europe canal.

An innovative design

The design of the locks is a technical challenge where different disciplines need to work together on an integrated design. SBE is regarded as a valuable partner within the project, given its +30 years of experience with hydraulic engineering projects.
SBE will be responsible for the design of all steel structures (including lock gates, sliding valves, damming constructions) and electromechanical parts and the study of the operations and maintenance, the RAMS analysis of the locks and the CSNE canal. SBE is also in charge of the design management.

The One group has all the skills necessary to carry out this large-scale project: geotechnical knowledge of the specific soil, knowledge of hydraulics, civil engineering of large structures, materials, systems (electrical systems, control technology, pumping techniques), etc. All these specialties will be bundled to define an innovative and integrated design. The main objectives are to maximize the value of the materials extracted on site and limit the use of concrete, to achieve top performance in reliability, to shorten the sailing time of boats and to limit the water requirements of the locks through water saving basins.

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