Another round of major investments at the Port of Gdansk
In October 2016, the Port of Gdansk Authority SA signed three agreements for EU grants that will make it possible to finance infrastructure investments planned for the forthcoming period at the Port of Gdansk, PGA says in a press release. The ceremonial handing over of the agreements signed on the part of Brussels will take place soon, on 22 November, at the Ministry of Development in Warsaw. This will initiate yet another stage of the huge investment programme at the Port of Gdansk, to be completed by the end of 2020.
On 8 July 2016, the CEF Transport Coordinating Committee approved a list of transport projects for subsidies from the resources of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), an EU funding instrument, including three projects submitted by the Port of Gdansk Authority SA. Among them as many as two were dedicated to road and railway infrastructure.
What stages were planned as part of the individual projects, what scope of construction and modernisation work was included, and what changes in the context of the quality of access infrastructure will they bring?
The first one, called "Expansion and modernisation of the road and railway network at the Outer Port in Gdansk" is a project estimated at more than EUR 28.7 million (with a subsidy of EUR 24.4 million), which is going to be one of the largest road and railway projects in terms of investments carried out by the port and will include a totalof 6 km of tracks and 10 km of roads. The execution of the project will involve as many as 12 tasks, 7 road- and 5 railway-related ones, and two of them will not be executed with the use of EU grants, but will be fully funded by the port.
The investment will require not only the modernisation of existing infrastructure facilities, but also the construction of new ones with the purpose of improving road and railway access to individual quays located in the deepwater part of the port.
The new facilities will include two flyovers along Kontenerowa street and the newly designed Nowa Portowa street, which will run parallel to the main line of communication at the Outer Port, i.e. the Sucharskiego Route. Both flyovers will enable separated road and railway traffic to the DCT container terminal and towards the other deepwater terminals located in this part of the port. At the moment, existing railway communication lines cross the roads, which considerably limits parallel traffic on both routes, the railway and the road.
The modernisation will also cover the other two flyovers providing traffic to terminals located at the Outer Port. One of them is the flyover along Portowa street running over railway tracks, providing car traffic to the bulk terminal of the Port Polnocny company, the newly built PERN oil terminal, and the LPG Pier. The other one is the flyover along Kapitana Witolda Poinca street, located over a pipeline network, providing traffic to the Liquid Fuel Terminal. Both flyovers are class C engineeringstructures built in the mid-1970s and designed for a maximum load capacity of up to 30 tonnes. However, taking into consideration the ever heavier land traffic at the port, it was decided that as part of the investment, the technical class of the flyovers will be upgraded to level A, i.e. a load capacity of up to 50 tonnes. Such parameters were also adopted for the flyovers under construction, providing traffic to other parts of the Outer Port. Taking this opportunity, also the existing streets along which these flyovers are located will be thoroughly modernised. These roads will be linked to the Sucharskiego Route, including the conversion of the existing intersections.
Additionally, the project will involve comprehensive expansion of Kontenerowa street providing traffic to the DCT container terminal, the Pomeranian Logistics Centre, and the planned agricultural type bulk cargo terminal of the OT Logistics company. At the moment, the traffic capacity of the road is insufficient, this is why the project involves its widening by adding the second roadway. Ultimately, there will be a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction. The four-lane artery will improve inward and outward traffic to and from the terminals and will undoubtedly contribute to increasing its safety along this section.
Aware of the current situation and the predicted increase in motor traffic at the port in the coming years, in the whole investment process concerning road infrastructure, the Port of Gdansk Authority decided that the roads covered by the project will be at least traffic category KR5/KR6 roads. In practice, this means that at least 330 six-axle 40-tonne vehicles per lane per day will be able to travel down these roads. In the case of category KR6 roads, the capacity will be even higher. Each of the roads will also have the maximum permissible load capacity in public traffic, at the level of 115 kN per vehicle axle.
However, these are not all of the solutions included in the project. Ultimately, the investment will also involve undertakings aiming at improving the quality and capacity of railways. The group of tracks leading to the bulk terminal of the Port Polnocny company will be expanded, among others. This will result in increasing railway traffic capacity and streamlining ongoing operations on the dedicated group, which currently generates the largest volume of railway traffic at the Port of Gdansk.
On account of the planned construction of the agro-terminal of the OT Logistics company, also the railway tracks leading to the terminal will be modernised. The greatest change, however, will affect the railway system leading to the container terminal. A complete change in the course of the tracks is planned here. At the moment, only one track leads to the terminal. Meanwhile, increasing the capacity of the railway route and improving traffic safety is ultimately planned, as the second track will be laid along the entire length of the first one, so as to provide the possibility of simultaneous two-way train traffic along this section, separated from road traffic. Additionally, the construction of three storage tracks enabling train parking while waiting for handling at the deepwater terminals was planned within the port premises, behind the Port Polnocny station and the interchange leading to the tunnel below Martwa Wisla (at the intersection of the Slowackiego Route and the Sucharskiego Route). This track group, located in the foreland of the terminals in a way not disrupting current traffic, will also make it possible (apart from the parking function) to perform the necessary technical and manoeuvring operations on the train.
The entire undertaking will be complemented by investments planned by the Gdansk Municipality, which will focus solely on the improvement of road accessibility. As part of this undertaking, the Municipality is planning the construction of two streets, i.e. Nowa Portowa street and current Andruszkiewicza street, running perpendicularly to it, the course of which is to be extended to the container terminal, along the Pomeranian Logistics Centre.
These projects will also be correlated at the contact points with the project of the railway track administrator, PKP PLK S.A. (the project called "Improvement of railway access to the Port of Gdansk"), involving the modernisation of the stations serving the Port of Gdansk - the PKP Gdansk Port Polnocny station in this case.
This huge undertaking will also complement the whole system already completed by the Gdansk Municipality (the Slowackiego and Sucharskiego Routes), the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (the Southern Ring Road and the A1 motorway), and PKP PLK (railway line no. 226). The hub created this way will constitute the primary transport axis for traffic running across the Port of Gdansk and leading to it.