Realisation of Europe’s largest swing bridge


The Port of Zeebrugge was looking for a reliable partner to safely connect the two quays of the connecting dock at the port over a distance of 400 metres. It found one in the form of the temporary partnership Artes Depret – Artes Roegiers – Victor Buyck Steel Construction – Agidens Infra Automation. The end result? The largest movable bridge in Europe, with a span of 130 metres. After completion, Agidens Infra Automation will be responsible for the maintenance for eighteen years.

Following an intensive D&B tender process, Port of Zeebrugge awarded the contract for the design and construction of a new, movable bridge over the connecting dock at Zeebrugge to the temporary partnership Artes Depret – Artes Roegiers – Victor Buyck Steel Construction – Agidens Infra Automation. The new bridge replaces the smaller movable bridge at the connecting dock and – in addition to creating a better link for port traffic – also makes the inner harbour safer for cyclists.

Challenges and solutions

In addition to safely connecting the two quays, it had to be possible to open the bridge to create a 55-metre passage. The award criteria were the completion of the bridge based on specifications with no prescribed solution, as well as reliability, availability, maintainability and safety, in combination with price. Another important aspect was that the bridge had to be ‘integrated into the environment’.

Our solution was to provide a central lifting and turning mechanism that lifts the 2,200-tonne swing bridge in 150 seconds and turns it 90 degrees, without an active centring or locking mechanism. This system, which has full redundancy, allows the bridge to be moved safely and efficiently with a minimum of movements. As the bridge is lifted by eight jacks, the challenge is to keep the bridge perfectly horizontal. The emergency stop during turning presented a particular challenge, as there was a danger that the central pillar would break off.


Extensive scope

Advice & consulting

Proces design / engineering

Software engineering

E&I engineering

Safety engineering


Automation & system integration

Testing & commissioning

Maintenance & service support

Cyber security

Passage of 55 metres 

By creating a passage of 55 metres, the bridge also takes into account the heavy port traffic. This will also be the width of the new sea lock that will be built in Zeebrugge in the coming years and is perfect for the various tunnel elements that will be shipped from Zeebrugge to Antwerp for Antwerp’s Oosterweel Tunnel. Next to the passage, Agidens Infra Automation also provided a non-movable bridge across the non-navigable channel between the fixed bridge deck and the central pillar. In this way, the new bridge will remain accessible for heavy goods vehicles in both the open and closed position. This ensures that it can be maintained while allowing free passage for shipping.



Reliability and availability – Installation is fully redundant, including the drive, operation and control systems.

Maintainability – Fewer components and as few wearing parts as possible. The bridge is also accessible in all possible positions.

Operability – Operation is similar to the other installations managed by Port of Zeebrugge.

Safety – We also ensured better safety (SIL 2). The installation was built in accordance with best practices in the areas of machine safety and cybersecurity.

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