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11th January 2019 - Press Release

New Bascule Bridge and Lock Gates delivered to Western Docks development

A single leaf bascule bridge and marina lock gates have been delivered as part of the ongoing transformation for Port of Dover's flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development.

The bridge, designed and manufactured by Qualter Hall has been installed by Qualter Hall on behalf of VSBW - a joint venture comprising VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster – who are responsible for the marine and bridge civils contract for the DWDR development.

The bascule bridge has been designed to maintain vehicular and pedestrian access along the Esplanade and will span the new navigation channel connecting the existing Wellington Dock with the new marina that is being built in in the outer harbour.

The bridge deck is attached by tie bars to a pivoting arm, which sits on top of a pair of masts, designed to represent ship masts. The deck is lifted using hydraulic cylinders, attached to the pivoting frame. The lifting mechanism is assisted by a steel filled counterweight section at the end of the balance arm.

The deck is 16m in length and 15.1m wide, and weighs 96 tonnes. It has a mast height of 16m and was brought in by a sea-going barge from the fabricator, Victor Buyck, Belgium, and lifted into place by a substantial 1250t land based crane.

In addition to the bascule bridge, two sector lock and mitre gates are being installed to provide 24hr access for marine craft into the Wellington Dock Navigation Channel, and also to provide flood protection during extreme high tide and storm surge conditions.

The two sector lock gates, each 12m high, and weighing 50 tonnes, will be located at the entrance to the navigation channel; and the two mitre lock gates, each 6m high and 5.5m wide, and weighing 13 tonnes, will be installed in the middle of the navigation channel adjacent to the bascule bridge.

George Orton, Managing Director for Qualter Hall, said: “We are delighted to be working at Dover again where, over the years, Qualter Hall has carried out a significant number of major works.

Recently this included all the mechanical, hydraulic and electrical control equipment for the refurbishment of RoRo berths 2, 3 and 7 at Dover’s Eastern Docks. The revival of the Western Docks will be a key catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area, providing vital employment opportunities and we are privileged to be playing a part in this.”

Alan Hicks, Project Director for VSBW, said: “This is another successful key milestone within this high-profile project. The close collaboration between VSBW, our supply chain and the Port of Dover, has allowed the installation to take place as planned and ensures the success of the regeneration project for the Port as a whole”.



Notes to editors

1. Port of Dover

The Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) is a one-off opportunity for the regeneration of Dover, bringing new investment into the area.  With UK Government planning approval and supported by a mix of private finance and European Union grant funding, DWDR will deliver:

  • Relocation and further development of the cargo business with a new cargo terminal and distribution centre;
  • Creation of greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic;
  • A transformed waterfront to ultimately attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants with Dover's unique backdrop of the harbour, cliffs and castle; and
  • Much needed quality employment opportunities for local people.


DWDR scored ‘Excellent’ for the CEEQUAL Whole Team Interim Award - the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme that promotes the achievement of high environmental and social performance in civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects.




VSBW is a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster to deliver the marine structures and bridge contract for the Port of Dover’s flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development.

With a contract value of £115m, this construction stage will include the design and build of two new berths including quay walls and land reclamation, a new marina pier, the marina curve, navigation channel and new lock gates, Bascule Bridge and capital dredging work.


3. Qualter Hall

Qualter Hall was founded in 1860 and quickly became established as a leading supplier of machinery to the deep mining industry. Over the years the company has grown and diversified its core skills so that its current activities take in an extremely wide range of market sectors providing a unique service in the field of bespoke, turnkey project engineering both in the UK and worldwide.

Its recent work includes:-

  • Project Engineering
  • Moving bridges
  • Static bridges
  • Water control gates
  • Ro-Ro linkspans
  • Winches and haulages
  • Nuclear waste handling ( special projects involving robotics )
  • Other specially designed engineering requirements
  • Control and operating systems for the above ( electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic, fully integrated to suit specific installation )
  • Manufacturing
  • 12000 square metres of state of the art production facility, in addition to Qualter Hall designed equipment, typical contracts include:-
  • Architectural steelwork
  • Specialist structures
  • Railway rolling stock
  • Nuclear waste storage boxes
  • Mining
  • Mine shaft systems
  • Mine winders and haulages
  • Underground transportation systems
  • Control and operating systems for the above ( electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic, fully integrated to suit specific installation )
  • Ships Presses
  • Comprehensive range of large machines for plate preparation and forming, used in shipbuilding and others sectors of industry




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