The design of waterways has been an omnipresent topic in the research done by Flanders Hydraulics Research (FHR) over the last five years. Concept design guidelines, such as the Dutch guidelines for inland transport, are not always in accordance with actual environmental and economic constraints. As a consequence, waterways are not designed according to concept design dimensions. In our experience, several projects have shown that concept design can be too restrictive and that there is scope for improvement in detailed design. This can be done by real-time simulations using full-mission ship manoeuvring simulators while involving all parties in the design process.
For the upgrade of a canal which forms part of the Seine-Scheldt connection between France and Belgium, guidelines were set-up by the responsible government agency for a two-way traffic lane on the canal for a ECMT class Vb push barge convoy (185 m long, 11.4 m wide) and a ECMT class IV motor ship (85 m long, 9.5 m wide). The Dutch design guidelines could not be met, but the proposed design with widened bends and adjusted channel sections was evaluated with real-time manoeuvring simulations on two coupled simulators (inland simulator Lara and simulator SIM225 from FHR). Meetings between the class Vb and class IV vessels were simulated under different wind conditions. Based on the track plots of the individual vessels an optimized design of the canal could be proposed.
On behalf of the waterway authority: Waterwegen en Zeekanaal NV – Upper Scheldt Division (BE) the nautical quality of the design of new locks along the Lis Diversion Canal at Harelbeke (2012) and St-Baafs-Vijve (2013) was assessed by means of real time simulations.