August 15 - ALE has used the revolutionary Mega Jack system for the first time in Europe as part of works for the Albert Kanaal Project.

The main bridge in Genk, Belgium, with a span of 180 m and weight of 4,500 tonnes, along with the two side bridges, weighing 536 tonnes each, were jacked-up 2.9 m over three consecutive days.

Three weeks later, after the bridge foundations were adjusted and other civil works were completed, the ALE Mega Jack system was used to jack-down the three bridges onto the new foundations. As a result, the clearance for ships passing under the bridge has been increased by 2.4 m.

The Albert Kanaal Project will eventually give the canal a clear passing height of 9.1 m to allow ships with four layers of containers to pass through the channel. Some of the 50 bridges need to be completely replaced, other bridges only need to be heightened and some bridges already meet the criteria.

Jos Baelemans, project engineer, said: "Given the extreme weight of the bridge, we believe the optimum solution would be to use our Mega Jack System. This jacking system comprised of eight jacks, each with 1,300 tonnes capacity, thus creating a total lifting capacity of 10,400 tonne. By using the Mega Jack, we could complete the jack-up quickly and safely within the space available."

ALE has also been awarded the contract to install the new bridge at Zolder, weighing approximately 1,200 tonnes. This bridge is also part of Albert Kanaal project and the launch is due to take place this autumn.