Systematic research was carried out during the study, with the aim of learning from this situation and preventing it in future (sub)projects. During the investigation, Deltares analysed measurements, video footage, and eyewitness accounts. We concluded that water flowed under the sheet piling from the canal side (underflow). This process may have been triggered by a leakage in the wall, which may have been caused by out-of-lock or damaged sheet piling. After the water breach occurred, the wall collapsed as a result of water pressure. The reason for the occurrence of this failure mechanism could not be determined.

Oorzaak van het falen van de bouwkuip op het Julianakanaal tussen Berg en Obbicht in februari 2023.
Cause of the Juliana Canal construction pit failure between Berg and Obbicht in February 2023. (in Dutch)

Making the Meuse accessible

The construction pit on the on the Juliana Canal will have to be removed in a safe and responsible manner. The widening work will also have to be completed. Rijkswaterstaat is and will remain in talks with those in the area, and with the canal’s users. The Juliana Canal is an important lifeline for many large and small companies, and a key shipping route. To make the Meuse river more accessible for large shipping, the Juliana canal has been deepened and widened in several places since 2012, across a stretch of 26 kilometres. The last section to be widened is the three kilometre stretch between Berg and Obbicht.

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