Zoutkamp has a tough job ahead, but is also looking forward to New Water Works

Residents of Zoutkamp have a few tough years ahead of them due to the approach to the Oude Sluis, among other things, but residents are confident that things will work out.

“It is a huge job, but we have been well informed and we have been listened to carefully. That is why there is mutual understanding for each other. Although we might have preferred to do some things slightly differently”, says Jaap Wieringa.

For a few years now, he has been involved in consultations about the activities on behalf of the Dorpsbelangen Zoutkamp and the organization of the Pentecost parties. They start Friday morning with an official meeting and last – it seems now – 2.5 years.

Get out, channel blocked

Wieringa is convinced that the Noorderzijlvest water board and contractor Strukton will not betray their confidence in the coming years.

“The operation remains a challenge for builders and residents. For example, the main Panserweg (N388) has been out for three weeks this summer. That is quite difficult, but it happens at a time when it affects us as little as possible. At least not during Pentecost.”

The Hunsingo Canal will be blocked for ships for a year.

54 million

In addition to the long duration, the scope of the work can be read from the investment: more than 54 million euros. A rare high amount for a village on the edge of the municipality of Het Hogeland.

Zoutkamp will not only get new waterworks for it, as the project is also called. In addition to the municipality and province, the Soil Subsidence Committee, the National Program Groningen and the Wadden Fund contribute financially.

Cycling route

“Municipality and province, in consultation with the village, ensure that all kinds of other things happen immediately. This way we finally get a cycle path over the dike along the Reitdiep to Electra and a bicycle bridge along the road over the Reitdiep,” says Wieringa.

Dorpsbelangen hopes that the tourist cycle route to Electra will also be quickly extended to the city. “We can’t wait for the remaining part between Electra and Garnwerd, but for now we are already taking advantage of what they call ‘matching opportunities’ of such a project.”

main part

The main part of the work is the relocation of the HD Woudagemaal. It is located 500 meters away in the Hunsingo Canal between the soccer fields of Zeester and canoe camping site ‘t Ol Gat. It will lose its function as soon as Noorderzijlvest starts using the new Hunsingo pumping station on the outer dike side of the Oude Sluis, and the former sea dike once again has a limited(er) role as a flood defence.

Wieringa: ,,The Oude Sluis will be completely restored and will return as a lock. This will soon provide residents and visitors with a beautiful view. Great for the tourists who have increasingly been able to find our village since corona.

The narrow passage for car traffic at the Oude Sluis will not change, so residents will continue to enjoy motorists who do not want to give each other priority or do the craziest antics. “There is indeed regular hassle there at the entrance of the village. But that also slows down the speed. And crossing the road is made easier.”

What happens at the lock

The Oude Sluis is the first, with the road narrowing, that you encounter in Zoutkamp when you drive from the provincial road Groningen-Lauwersoog (N361) over the Panserweg to the village. It is located in the former seawall in front of the Hunsingo Canal and will now regain its function as a lock.

According to the current schedule, contractor Strukton will break through the dike on the south side of the Oude Sluis this year for the construction of a new waterway (water supply channel) between the existing Hunsingo Canal and the future pumping station in the Lauwersmeer area next to the lock. The main road will be closed for 3 weeks in June for the construction of a temporary bridge. There may be a water taxi or another temporary bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.

The substructure of the supply channel and pumping station, and the repair of the dike, must be completed by the end of September 2024. In the summer of 2025, the temporary bridge will be removed again (then there will be a week’s traffic congestion) and construction of the new Oude Sluis will begin.

The lock and the new pumping station will be ready at the end of 2025. The contractor wants to transport as much material as possible over the water to limit the nuisance. Fresh concrete, among other things, will come with trucks.