NL / FR / EN


Location: Zeebrugge
Discipline: Civil engineering & infrastructure, Electromechanics, Port, river & hydraulic engineering
Period: 2019 - 2022

Verbinding bridge

Official opening of the Verbinding Bridge


Placement of the swing bridge


Start of work

October 2020

DBM project award

February 2020

Start of tender design

March 2019

The new Connecting Bridge in Zeebrugge’s inner port is widely referred to as ‘Europe’s largest movable swing bridge’. SBE worked (together with Stendess) on assignment by the Artes Group – Victor Buyck – Agidens consortium and they were appointed by MBZ (Maatschappij van de Brugse Zeehaven (Bruges Seaport Company)) to build this bridge and provide maintenance for 20 years. This new bridge provides an additional North-South connection for both road traffic and slow traffic in the port of Zeebrugge.

The assignment from MBZ was to build a new permanent bridge (to replace the existing temporary bridge) over the Connecting Dock which had to be suitable for the public as well as for extraordinarily heavy and frequent port traffic, and also to provide a safe cycle route for commuting. The Connecting Bridge thereby stands to provide better and additional access for all road users between the back and front port.

The new bridge is 400 meters long in total and has two single lanes of 4.50 m and a separated footpath and cycle path with dual carriageways. The bridge consists of two fixed approach bridges (a total length of 270 meters together) in concrete and 1 steel swing bridge of 130 meters. The concrete approach bridges consist of several decks, each with 6 precast I-girders and a continuous concrete bridge deck. The steel bridge deck consists of heavy welded main beams, coupled with sectional girders and an orthotropic road surface, and is supported by eight tubular piles that are two meters in diameter and 40 meters long. The swing bridge allows passage for vessels up to 55m wide. This passage width is also aligned with the tunnel elements of the Oosterweel project in Antwerp that must pass through here to reach the Pierre Vandamme lock. It also allows the shipping traffic of the large ships that will be transferred through the new sea lock to the eastern rear port of Zeebrugge. SBE is currently collaborating on these three projects: the renovation of the Pierre Vandamme lock, construction of the planned new sea lock and the Oosterweel project.

The project also included the construction of a transition quay wall to allow the Connecting Dock to be deepened to -15m TAW (Second General Water Leveling) at a later stage to ensure a water depth of over 18m.

SBE tasks:

  • Drafting of the bridge concept and preliminary, final design and implementation study for the fixed bridge section (substructure and superstructure), the substructure of the movable bridge, the brake work and the 100m long quay wall;
  • Preparation and monitoring of the full 3D model;
  • Preparation of the environmental permit file.