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IWW E70 in Europe and in Poland

The International Waterway E70 (Rotterdam – Berlin – Kostrzyn – Bydgoszcz – the Vistula Lagoon – Kaliningrad) links Western Europe, via the Berlin Waterway Junction and the northern region of Poland, with Kaliningrad, and further on, with the waterway system of the Neman River.

In Poland, the IWW E70 runs from the Oder-Havel Canal to the Hohensaaten, along the lower section of the Oder via Kostrzyn (E30), follows the rivers of Warta and Noteć up to the Bydgoszcz Canal, along the River Brda, a section of the lower Vistula (E40) and the Nogat, crosses the Vistula Lagoon to Kaliningrad and continues along the Pregolya and Deyma rivers to Klaipėda, Lithuania.According to the European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance (AGN), only waterways meeting at least the basic requirements of class IV (minimum dimensions of vessels 80 m x 9.5 m) can be considered as international waterways. Newly constructed sections should, however, meet the requirements of class Vb as a minimum, and sections being modernised – class Va.

The International Waterway E70 meets the AGN requirements along the majority of its Western Europe course. Nonetheless, in Germany the following sections require modernising:

1. The Mittelland Canal (modernisation to class Vb requirements)

2. The Elbe-Havel Canal (modernisation to class Vb requirements) the Waterway of the lower Havel (Untere-Havel Wasserweg) from Plauen to the Spree river (parameters to be increased to meet class Vb requirements)

3. The waterways of Berlin (parameters to be increased to meet the requirements of class IV or higher)

4. The Oder-Havel Canal (parameters to be increased to class Va requirements).

In the Netherlands, the passage from Zuid-Willemsvaart to Veghel is the bottleneck section. Its technical parameters need to be improved to meet class IV requirements (this project is now in progress). The other navigational bottlenecks on the IWW E70 in the Netherlands include:

1. The IJssel – from Arnhem to Zutphen – the parameters are expected to be improved to class Va requirements

2. The Twente Canal - parameters are scheduled to be increased to class Va requirements (project in progress), and improvement works are planned of the canal locks at Eefde.

Unfortunately, the Polish division of the IWW E70 is not compliant with the AGN requirements in any of its sections. At present, the IWW E70 in Poland can be classified as class II only and the part of the Noteć from the confluence of the Drawa River to the Bydgoszcz Canal only meets class Ib requirements. the IWW E70 is canalised with 28 barrages, one of which - the Czersko Polskie lock in Bydgoszcz is a new structure opened in 1999. The remaining 27 locks are mainly non-electrified installations dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. The width of the streams varies from 16 to 25 metres, the minimum radii of the bends are 200 to 250 metres, and the minimum bridge clearances are 3.5 to 4 metres. The guaranteed depth of this route is between 1.2 and 1.5 metres and the maximum permitted speed limit for vessels is 8 km/h.Most modernisation works of the missing sections of the IWW E70 in Western Europe have already started. Deadlines for the commencement of the remaining works have been strictly indicated. The modernisation of the IWW E70 on the territory of Poland is only in its planning stage.

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