New bicycle bridge Antwerp: Ecorys surveys passing shipping traffic

The City of Antwerp plans to construct a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Scheldt River. In preparation for this development, insight was needed into the frequency and duration with which the bridge will need to be open from time to time. After all, the challenge is that this fixed bank connection will facilitate a growing demand for sustainable mobility in the city, but at the same time the safe and smooth flow of shipping traffic must not be compromised. Commissioned by the City of Antwerp, Ecorys therefore charted the timing, height and frequency of passing ships.

Measuring with advanced camera system
For 6 months we measured passing vessels on the right bank from a construction site near the Kennedy Tunnel. Ecorys set up an advanced camera system for this purpose, which registered the passing ships 24/7. We determined the heights of the ships based on the photos recorded by the camera system. An advanced software program made it easy to determine the height of the ship. All passing ships were analyzed for height, type (cargo and bulk ships, container ships, water bus, yacht ed.), time of day and passing frequency. This data was used to verify the height of the fixed bridge section so that most of the shipping can pass the bridge regardless of bridge opening or tidal action.

Passing shipping in Amsterdam 
For Ecorys, this is not the first time we have recorded and analyzed shipping traffic. Previously in Amsterdam, we charted passing shipping near Java Island. Amsterdam also had plans for a bicycle connection across the IJ. The intention to realize the bicycle connection still exists, but the municipality has another location in mind. The Ecorys study implicitly contributed to this decision.

Fieldwork, data collection, camera monitoring
Antwerp and Amsterdam are both major ports, but also rapidly growing cities that want to be attractive for sustainable mobility. A cycle bridge is an investment that will last for decades, so it is necessary to first have a good analysis of the challenges a bridge poses to navigation. We are proud to offer fieldwork and data collection and camera monitoring in addition to research and consultancy work. At Ecorys, for instance, we have also been working with scanning cars and camera counting and measurement systems for many years.

For more information, please contact Jochen Maes, senior consultant.