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Locks along the Danube after the flood

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Home >> Locks along the Danube after the flood

If you are interested in the other flood articles, please consider to read the High Water Situation and the Flood Status Update. While covering the flood in real time, I have mentioned there might be issues coming up along the rivers, even after the high water is gone.

The main flood wave is now between Belgrade and the Iron Gates, it will take another few days until it is gone. If you try to follow it's crest at the Danube Water Levels, you'll might not see it downstream of Ilok and Zimony, as it is now entering the Iron Gates / Djerdap. However, downstream of the hydro dams (at Calafat / Vidin) the levels are still rising.

Before I start with the bad news, let me tell you the good ones first. I overestimated the problems of broken dikes and dams along the Danube between Regensburg and Passau (where the main flood was). This stretch of the river is open for navigation again. But you can not cruise from Nuremberg to Vienna (or further down to Budapest) without switching ships.

Linz - Altenwörth Lock - Vienna

First it looked as if the Altenwörth lock was going to be reopened for traffic tomorrow on June 20th. Today, the Danube Information System has published a new ticket for the lock, read it here.

A corrected google translate reads:

The lock Altenwörth must be closed due to massive flood damage in the lower harbor. On both sides of the outer harbor (guide wall and the border wall), the foundations were undermined several meters deep. The Kolk under the guide wall extends to the opposite weir, on the border wall ratio cracks were observed. The strength of the structure remains fragile, there are extensive security measures required than originally expected.

I did not knew what a "Kolk" was, here is a link (to a picture) Kolk on Wikipedia. So it looks as if the whole foundation of the lock was undermined by the fast currents. If they say "several meters", this easily adds up in a 12m wide lock to approximately 90.000m3 / 3.17 million cubic foot.

Another note from the same source mentions, that the total damage is going to be estimated on June 21th, while one of the two chambers can be opened up at June 29th or later.

Update 2013-06-26: Some info had been published by the austrian authorities..

Ab 27.06.2013, 07:00 Uhr, wird die linke Schleusenkammer in Betrieb genommen. Die Schleusungsreihenfolge wird von der Schleusenaufsicht gem. § 6.28 Z 12 der WVO festgelegt und richtet sich nach dem Zeitpunkt der Ausfahrt in Melk bzw. Greifenstein und der Optimierung der Schleusenkapazität. Bis Samstag, 29.06.2013, werden Tal- und Bergschleusungen zur Optimierung im Blockbetrieb von etwa 6 h im Einbahnverkehr durchgeführt. Diese Nachricht gilt als Fahrbefehl gem. § 23 Abs. 5 Schifffahrtsgesetz.

Roughly translated: Blablabla... lots of paragraphs... blabla... From June 27th 7am the left chamber is going to be reopened for ships. Order of shipping... blabla more paragraphs...

Im Interesse der Flüssigkeit des Verkehrs der gewerbsmäßigen Schifffahrt bleibt die Schleuse Altenwörth für Sportfahrzeuge bis einschließlich 30.06.2013 gesperrt.

Roughly translated: In the interest of commercial shipping (cargo and pax) the lock of Altenwörth will remained closed for yachts and leisure crafts until June 30th.

So it looks as if the blockage is going to be over soon: First ships moving tomorrow, and even with only one lock chamber available, they expect to deal with the ships stuck until June 30th..

Bratislava - Gabcikovo Lock - Budapest

It is harder to get some information on this lock. Actually we are all just assuming it is closed due to the cancelled cruises downstream of Vienna and a few reports from the days immediately after the flood passed. And these sources (you'll find the links in my other two articles mentioned at the top) mention that the lock is going to be opened on June 20th. I'll keep you informed.

Update 2013-06-22: Had the chance to chat with two Cruise Directors who came from Budapest. They told me, that Gabčíkovo lock is open for navigation.

Other locks

Most other locks are operational, either one or both chambers. See the Operational Status of Locks in Austria for more information.

Summary

At this moment (even with an uncertain status on the Gabcivkovo lock) there are no cruises going non stop from Amsterdam to Budapest or Nuremberg to Budapest for another 10 days. However, the lock closure we know about (for sure) at Altenwörth is about half the way in between Nuremberg / Budapest. In case you'll have an alternative cruise taking place, you'll lucky enough to switch ships instead of getting bused around.