NL / FR / EN


Location: Willebroek
Discipline: Civil engineering & infrastructure
Period: 2005 - 2008


Official opening

December 2008

Sailing in of the new bridge and assembly

June 2007

End of study


Start of study


The Boulevard Bridge is a new movable bascule bridge in the Antwerp municipality of Willebroek over the Brussels-Scheldt Sea Canal, which is one of Belgium’s oldest canals. This bridge connects the Appeldonkstraat intersection (Puurs-Willebroek) and Boom on the N177 main axis. With the arrival of the Wintam sea lock, the canal became navigable for ships of up to 10,000 tons, which meant that both the canal width and clearance had to be increased. SBE’s long-standing expertise in bridge and hydraulic engineering was called upon by THV Herbosch-Kiere – Hye on behalf of De Vlaamse Waterweg NV.


The Boulevard Bridge at Willebroek has a history dating back to 1910. During this period, the first Boulevard Bridge was built at Klein-Willebroek. After the destruction of the bascule bridge during WWI and WWII, the bridge was replaced by a lift bridge in 1952. A metal bascule bridge was built parallel to the lift bridge in the late 1950s to cope with the increasing traffic caused by the ’58 World Expo in Brussels. Work began on the Rupel Tunnel in 1970 to relieve the increasing traffic at the two bridges.

The sea canal width of 18 meters at the time was increased to 57 meters to make it navigable for ships of 10,000 tons. The clearance height had to be increased to 9.1 meters to allow all barges to pass under the bridge without having to raise the bridge. For that reason, the two bridges were replaced by the current Boulevard Bridge.

In addition, the new bridge also formed an important link in the completely new access to Willebroek-North, a 60-hectare industrial estate.

Steel bascule bridge

The new Boulevard Bridge is a bascule bridge constructed entirely in steel and with an orthotropic road surface. The folding side was designed as a bowstring to optimize the steel weight and for architectural reasons. This arch (a steel tube with a variable section) extends over the rear counterweight box. The structural forces effect is externalized by constructing the mainly printed diagonals as round tubes and the mainly drawn diagonals as lean solid bars. The rear arms with counterweight box disappear into a concrete bridge basement that was immersed within a combi wall.

SBE tasks

SBE was responsible for the implementation and delivery of the complete implementation study of the bascule bridge, specifically:

  • Preliminary study and design for the tender;
  • Preparation of the final design;
  • Implementation study of abutments incl. bridge basement;
  • Implementation study + detailed study of the steel superstructure;
  • Implementation study of fixed bridge + abutments.

Get to know the people behind the project

Jan worked as a BIM engineer on this challenging project. Discover his story and, who knows, you may soon become his colleague. Go to our job page to view the vacancies available.