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Amsterdam to Build Bubble Barriers

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Two ‘bubble barriers’ are set to be installed in the Port of Amsterdam’s Noordersluis lock following a recent drought. 

The bubble barriers, vertical curtains of bubbles that allow less salt water to flow through a passage, will reduce the effects of salinization — high levels of salt in the soil — caused by the river Rhine reaching historically low levels.

The Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management said it was “forced” to take additional measures to prevent further salinization in the Netherlands as it can damage the agriculture and horticulture industry by reducing the quality of water in surrounding areas.

Rob Gordijn discusses the mega-project of building Amsterdam's new sea-lock in a recent Port Technology technical paper

In addition to the bubble barriers, which are most effective when the doors of the Noordersluis are closed, Central Nautical Management has also introduced a new protective regime.

The Noordersluis will now close more quickly, even when the lock is not completely full. This means that ships planning to travel through the lock must take into account a waiting time of up to one and a half hours.

As well as the strict passage regime, Central Nautical Management has also stipulated that only larger ships may pass through the Noordersluis lock while maintenance work proceeds.

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