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Location: Harelbeke, Wielsbeke
Discipline: Port, river & hydraulic engineering, Urbanism & Design
Period: 2021 - ...

Calibration of Lys Pand 150 Harelbeke to Sint-Baafs-Vijve

Submission of building application file

Late 2021

The calibration (widening and deepening) of the Lys forms part of the broader Seine-Scheldt project. This includes the implementation of an inland navigation link for larger vessels (CEMT class Vb) between the Seine basin in the south (Paris, Rouen, Le Havre) and the Scheldt basin and the North Sea ports in the north (Antwerp, Ghent, Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Rotterdam). The Lys axis as an inland waterway between Ghent and the French border has a total length of 71km and is divided into 7 sections or reaches (from downstream to upstream). The study area for the present project covers ‘Pand 150’ along the Lys, between the Harelbeke lock (upstream) and the Sint-Baafs-Vijve lock (downstream). The Roeselare-Lys Canal also links up with Pand 150). SBE is responsible for the entire study and the monitoring of the works.

In addition to the widening and deepening of the Lys, the banks will also be fitted out with a view to optimizing water management, nature, recreation, heritage, and landscape. In general, the image quality and green links along and over the water should be maximized near artworks.

Back to a river landscape

Due to the historical straightening of the Lys, the typical river landscape of the Lys has been lost. The differences between the low-lying river and the higher-lying basins, separated by valley edges, is no longer (visually) present. The straightened Lys runs straight through the salt marshes, and because of the (partial) filling of the meanders, the natural course of the river is no longer present. In addition, the planting of rows of trees along the tow-path gives a sense of a canal, and the construction of field verges between the tow-path and the Lys means that the Lys is no longer visible in many places. These landscape qualities will therefore be restored through a combination of interventions in the project: the cutting down (view) and planting (new valley border) of trees, digging away dikes, use of more natural materials, etc.

SBE is responsible for finalizing the nautical design. Owing to the curved route of Pand 150, local waterway widening will be required so that the bends can be navigated safely. The technical development of all the banks, quay walls, appurtenances are also part of SBE’s assignment.

A multi-disciplinary approach

The project is characterized by constant interference between the various project objectives: the nautical aspect, the landscape, the ecological and recreational. Some examples:

  • Along both banks there is a hardened tow-path, also marked as a bicycle highway. The safety of cyclists is paramount, but at some locations, the tow-path is also a public road. Where possible, the design seeks to separate and/or screen off these traffic flows.
  • In the past, several old Lys arms or meanders were closed off or partially connected by valve-controlled constructions when the Lys was straightened. Depending on the recreational opportunities and in line with the water quality, the design will examine whether these connections can be adapted. The construction of the public area will also be aligned to this as far as possible.
  • The connection with the Roeselare-Lys Canal requires the necessary nautical modifications and will become a fully-fledged winding hole, while at the same time a new open connection with the old arm of the Lys will need to be made at this location.

This makes Pand 150 a chain of zones where there is a great deal of interference between the various project objectives and prevailing preconditions. Thanks to the intensive collaboration within our multi-disciplinary team, we can align these quickly and efficiently.

Redesigning of the Barrage-Waregem site

Due to the size of the integral project of Pand 150, De Vlaamse Waterweg decided to bring forward two sub-zones and approach them as separate subprojects. This means that these sub-zones have a separate process with environmental permit application and are also implemented as separate projects. The overarching objective of the project and connections are taken into account, however. One subproject is located higher up the location, at the Omniplex-Vyncke site in the city of Harelbeke. The second subproject is located in Waregem-Barrage.

The Waregem-Barrage subproject will not only focus on the Lys and its banks, but will also create a brand new square in Sint-Eloois-Vijve (a sub-municipality of Waregem). This former industrial site is being transformed into a pleasant waterfront to meet and stay. The main objective of the redesign of this square is to reconnect the village center of Sint-Eloois-Vijve with the Lys. This is similar to the past situation when the old Lys arm came up to close to the center.

Contact with the water will be restored thanks to the design, which extends the recently constructed village square to the water. The extended square ends in a staircase that forms the link with the lowered quay. The staircase and the lowered quay combine to create a pleasant place for passersby to spend some time on and around the water.

A multipurpose open space is also provided with park areas on both sides of the square and also an elevated quay that provides a quality place to spend time with a view of the water.

In summary, SBE’s tasks are:

  • The inventory, measurement & supplementing of gaps in knowledge;
  • Drawing up a design for the banks, the waterway, and the appurtenances;
  • Preparation of the spatial design for the Waregem-Barrage square, as well as the integration of natural features and other recreational elements along the Lys;
  • Drawing up a file ready for tendering;
  • Preparing an application file for the environmental permit;
  • Preparing the implementation study;
  • Monitoring the execution of the works.