Unique test of flood barrier made from glass

The Herik/Strukton vof consortium is working on a two-year project for the Limburg Water Authority to strengthen the dike at Neer in the municipality of Leudal. A glass water barrier has been proposed as a solution during this project. This glass barrier is being extensively tested in the Delta Flume at the research institute Deltares. If the barrier passes the tests successfully, the Limburg Water Authority will have the first glass flood defence that meets all stringent safety requirements and preserves the view of the Meuse river. It will then be possible to use the tried and tested system in dike upgrade projects at specific locations.


Watch this video to learn the story behind this 'dike of glass' and its initiators!


Protection and preservation of the view
The dike upgrade in Neer consists of strengthening the green dike over a distance of approximately 1,600 metres and strengthening a hard barrier (a retaining wall) of approximately 550 metres. The project interacts intensively with the locality. Raising the hard barrier by 70 cm meant that several houses would no longer have a view of the Meuse river. Local residentswant to preserve the view of the Meuse. Safety was the most important factor for the water authority. It therefore initiated discussions with the local residents and looked at the options. In the end, the Limburg Water Authority opted for an innovative concept: part of the flood defences will be made from glass to maintain protection and preserve the view. The Herik/Strukton vof consortium is designing and producing the glass barrier. The plan is to install the barrier in the autumn of 2020 and the completion of the project as a whole is scheduled for late 2020.


Glass panels
The glass panels consist of multiple layers of glass and film. In close consultation with the experienced glass supplier Scheuten, the ideal thickness and composition in terms of strength and transparency have been calculated, always keeping in mind the aim of preserving the view of the Meuse river while meeting standards for flood risk management. The quality of the glass and film is high so that the barrier will be able to cope with external factors such as the weather. The glass panels will be installed over a total distance of 80 metres in four locations, the longest of will be 30 metres long.


Barrier tested at Deltares
Before it is installed, a test section of the class barrier will be tested in various ways at Deltares in Delft. The tests will be conducted in the week of 20 January in the now-celebrated test facility, the Delta Flume. A full-scale test section of the barrier will be studied there to see how it copes with wave loads and floating objects. A representative floating object has been selected: it is a 6-metre-long tree trunk weighing 800 kg and with a diameter of 40 cm that will collide with the glass at a certain speed. Various tests will be conducted to demonstrate that the glass barrier can withstand the loads that occur at high water levels, providing adequate protection for the local residents who live behind the dikes. On the basis of the test results, the Flood Risk Management Expertise Network (ENW) will be asked to approve the system.