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D–O–E route - Moravian Silesian Region - Tradition and future PDF Print E-mail
Article Index
D–O–E route
First kilometers to run through Slovakia or Austria
The South Moravian Region – base of the Czech water transport development
Zlín Region offers virtually ready stretches of the waterway
Olomouc Region – junction of European waterways
Moravian Silesian Region - Tradition and future
Through Poland to the navigable Oder
The waterway corridor in Pardubice Region – a serious designing challenge
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Moravian Silesian Region - Tradition and future

Moravskoslezský krajIn the region of Moravian Silesia, namely of Ostrava, the project of the D-O-E water corridor has been always followed extremely closely perhaps for two reasons. First of all, the Ostrava region has been far the largest centre of coal mining and steel industry in the former Czechoslovakia. The “building enthusiasm” of the years of socialism even marked it as a “steel heart of the republic”. Extensive transportation demands connected with the mining and metallurgic industries inspired decades of strong efforts to link the region with a waterway network. The main argument of such efforts built on the fact that the Ostrava region is the last area of heavy industry in Europe which lacks connection to the inland navigation. The nearby ending point of the navigable Oder in Kożle was another obvious reason for the attention. The favourable viewing of the D-O-E project had also a certain real outcome, like the Koblov dam, finished in 1937, or the groundbreaking of the Oder–Danube Canal, which took place about 50 kms from Ostrava two years later.

Benefits of water corridor Danube-Oder-Elbe for Moravian Silesian Region

• The port of Ostrava on the D-O-E water corridor route should transship far the largest volume than any other port in the country.

• Connection of the region to the waterway network will become the most significant development instrument in seeking new economic activities at the expected decline of the traditional ones. The D-O-E water corridor should be viewed as the region’s ticket from the tradition to the future.

• The water corridor will provide a reliable flood control for all important locations of the region, namely for the major part of Ostrava and Bohumín.

• In addition, the recreation and tourist navigation of the corridor route will increase the interest in the culture sights of the region.

Ship BOBRA during navigation test in Ostrava at Ostravice river under the Sýkora bridge in July 24, 1980 - Zdeněk Víteček Archive

Customs inspection of cargo at the port of Bohumin on the Oder river in September 26, 1978 - Zdeněk Víteček Archive

Today, such attitudes could be traced in thorough respecting of the D-O-E water corridor route in the region when other projects are realized, and it is also rather unambiguously defined. Apart from that, it is indisputable that the third stage of the water corridor should be realized not only on the Olomouc Region territory, but drawn as a compact unit all the way to the Ostrava central port. Let us take up where we have finished with description of the proposed route – in Jeseník nad Odrou, at a terrain point, which offers a convenient descent through a high lock from the summit pool to the level of the Oder valley alluvium. After the PLA Poodří was after-declared, the descent to the alluvium at Jeseník appears rather conflicting, as the route would disturb a short stretch of the meandering stream of this still very small river. Therefore, it was necessary to move the lock of descending branch to the village of Kunín. From this point on the route runs roughly along the edge of the Oder valley past Bartošovice and Albrechtičky to Petřvald, where the second and last high lock is to be established. Beyond the lock, the canal route heads on along the brim of the Oder alluvium to the south fringe of Ostrava, to enter the Oder riverbed. As it has already been reconstructed in terms of direction and even height due to the mining damage, only a certain deepening and partial widening could turn it into a part of the water corridor. Even after having moved the first descending lock from its original location at Jeseník nad Odrou to Kunín, the route will not avoid the PLA Poodří entirely and cut through some of its border parts. It is thus a question if it should not be entirely modified and led outside this area.

Theoretically, it is plausible if it circles the airport of Mošnov from the eastern side. It has to be mentioned, that only in 1930s the proposed route was cutting straight through the airport area (at that time, no plans to create an airport were known) – which routing was naturally optimal. In 1950s it had to yield to military interests, which were hard to by-pass. Return to the original route is now practically impossible. The route circling around the airport from the east would have only a theoretical impact. Such change would not only imply higher investment costs but also take away from the protected area, which attractiveness is based on the artificial water formations. The complex of the Jistebnice lakes laces the western side of the Oder alluvium. A sensitively designed water corridor could very well run along the eastern part of it. Despite the large level differences which are to be surpassed by the locks at Kunín and Petřvald, there will be no high banks or deep cuts on the route, as both the locks are situated at convenient terrain points. A rather higher dykes and a “elevated” canal bed would be created only between Výškovice and Proskovice, in case the fall of the Výškovice lock (as suggested in some alternative designs) would be elevated by 5 ms and thus the Výškovice pool and the lock of Proskovice would be omitted. On the other hand, the water level elevation could be employed in a town aquapark with an artificial slalom track of the highest parameters, and in other facilities.

Stavba mostu dálnice D 47 přes Odru u Mariánských hor respektuje budoucí plavební využívání zdrže jezu ve Lhotce (v pozadí). 

The motorway D 47 (D1) bridge across the Oder at Mariánské hory takes into account future navigation of the dam pool in Lhotka (behind). This photo also enables to compare the construction demands of the traffic routes and explained why the construction costs of 1 km of the corridor do not exceed (and often even rate lower) the costs of 1 km of a motorway.

Today, such attitudes could be traced in thorough respecting of the D-O-E water corridor route in the region when other projects are realized, and it is also rather unambiguously defined. Apart from that, it is indisputable that the third stage of the water corridor should be realized not only on the Olomouc Region territory, but drawn as a compact unit all the way to the Ostrava central port. Let us take up where we have finished with description of the proposed route – in Jeseník nad Odrou, at a terrain point, which offers a convenient descent through a high lock from the summit pool to the level of the Oder valley alluvium. After the PLA Poodří was after-declared, the descent to the alluvium at Jeseník appears rather conflicting, as the route would disturb a short stretch of the meandering stream of this still very small river. Therefore, it was necessary to move the lock of descending branch to the village of Kunín. From this point on the route runs roughly along the edge of the Oder valley past Bartošovice and Albrechtičky to Petřvald, where the second and last high lock is to be established. Beyond the lock, the canal route heads on along the brim of the Oder alluvium to the south fringe of Ostrava, to enter the Oder riverbed. As it has already been reconstructed in terms of direction and even height due to the mining damage, only a certain deepening and partial widening could turn it into a part of the water corridor. Even after having moved the first descending lock from its original location at Jeseník nad Odrou to Kunín, the route will not avoid the PLA Poodří entirely and cut through some of its border parts. It is thus a question if it should not be entirely modified and led outside this area. Theoretically, it is plausible if it circles the airport of Mošnov from the eastern side.

It has to be mentioned, that only in 1930s the proposed route was cutting straight through the airport area (at that time, no plans to create an airport were known) – which routing was naturally optimal. In 1950s it had to yield to military interests, which were hard to by-pass. Return to the original route is now practically impossible. The route circling around the airport from the east would have only a theoretical impact. Such change would not only imply higher investment costs but also take away from the protected area, which attractiveness is based on the artificial water formations. The complex of the Jistebnice lakes laces the western side of the Oder alluvium. A sensitively designed water corridor could very well run along the eastern part of it. Despite the large level differences which are to be surpassed by the locks at Kunín and Petřvald, there will be no high banks or deep cuts on the route, as both the locks are situated at convenient terrain points. A rather higher dykes and a “elevated” canal bed would be created only between Výškovice and Proskovice, in case the fall of the Výškovice lock (as suggested in some alternative designs) would be elevated by 5 ms and thus the Výškovice pool and the lock of Proskovice would be omitted. On the other hand, the water level elevation could be employed in a town aquapark with an artificial slalom track of the highest parameters, and in other facilities. Utilization of the regulated Oder in the Ostrava area for navigation should be achieved mainly through deepening of the riverbed, not by elevation above the current water level. It will considerably increase the discharge capacity as well as the flood control of the adjacent parts of the city. The fixed dam in Svinov would remain basically unchanged. Also the movable one in Lhotka would remain fully in operation, nor would change the water level of its pool. On the other hand, the dam at Kopytov, north of Bohumín, will need to be newly established – its construction has been planned for over 50 years.

Originally it was proposed to cut through (and thus basically ruin) the frontier meanders of the Oder above the mouth of the Olše. It was supposed to regulate draining of the subsidence areas, which had appeared due to extensive coal mining of the part of the pan. After all, the mine subsidences, sometimes even tens of metres deep, were the main reason on all regulations of the Oder and other rivers in the Ostrava-Karviná region. Had the regulations been carried out in 1960s, there would have been lakes in the area, drainable only by pumping. Prognoses of further mining and the related terrain subsidence were truly alarming only 20 years ago. They suggested that if the barrier of frontier meanders had not been removed, a large part of the city would have literally drowned. After the mining had eased up to cease eventually completely in the Ostrava part of the pan, the pessimistic forecasts lost their ground. The frontier meanders are, on the other hand, an increasingly valued natural phenomenon with no parallel on the whole stretch of the Oder from Ostrava to the sea. Therefore, the most currently favoured compromise solution leaves the meanders untouched and compensates for the low discharge capacity with a detour branch. The Kopytov dam and lock should be moved to its route, which would make the Oder navigable all the way to the state border – and complete the third stage. At the same time, it would provide a sufficient flood protection to Bohumín and the north part of Ostrava.

Draft of sport marina at Bohumín (right bank variant of by-pass of border meanders of the river Odra). Similar marinas are planned along the entire route of DOE water corridor.

Soutok Odry s Olší (v popředí) a pohled na polský úsek Odry v prostoru poldru Buków. Oba mosty na snímku již plně vyhovují požadavkům plavby, stejně tak jako parametry řeky. 

Meeting of the Oder with the Olše (front) and the Polish Oder in the area of the polder Buków. Both the bridges already comply with the needs of navigation.

On one hand, the abolition of mining in the Ostrava part of the pan contributes to the technical solution of the D-O-E water corridor, which can use the current adjustments and does not have to ponder on the complicated prognoses of the future terrain changes. On the other hand, such course of development prevents numerous mining and coal processing plants to be serviced directly via water transport. Also the significant metallurgical plants gradually lose the potential contact with the waterway. The Vítkovice metalwork is the closest to the Oder. Even earlier, the plant had an opportunity to transport the ore directly to the ore-yard by water transport via a short branch along the river Ostravice. However, the traditional metallurgical operation in Vítkovice has been abolished and the manufacturing has moved to Nová Huť, which is much farther from the waterway. It seems that decades of postponing of the D-O-E project realization have left the Ostrava Region rather skeptical, and the planned waterway has disappeared form the priority agenda of the local politics.

Concurrently, “the steel heart of the republic” has devalued in terms of the wider Czech or European economy. Ostrava will have to seek new supporting economic programs. It is not that rare. The very same situation has occurred in the Ruhr area, or in the mining and metallurgic centers of North France and in South Belgium. However, if you look for analogies, the waterway connection of these areas represented one of the magnets, which attracted new economic activities once the heavy industry had retreated. The D-O-E water corridor could very well help the Ostrava region in the same way. The D-O-E capacity water corridor will advantage the location of the region on the north-south transit axis and encourage development of transport and logistic services. For machine works manufacturing complete industrial plants or oversized and extremely heavy products, the waterway could mean indisputable advantage if not a new development impulse. Exploitation of the potential economic impact of the D-O-E water corridor naturally implies a sufficient ground reserves for development of ports, berths and other consecutive activities along the route.

Prostor vytěžených štěrkoven u Vrbice na pravém břehu Odry (na snímku vlevo) nabízí vhodné místo pro rozvoj centrálního ostravského přístavu. Je však zájem i o rekreační využívání alespoň části těchto rozsáhlých vodních ploch pro rekreaci. Vhodnější by tedy asi bylo soustředění rekreace na druhý – levý břeh, kde jsou v prostoru Antošovic rovněž velké štěrkovny.

A detailed view of Vrbice (left) and Antošovice (right) lakes. The regulated Oder creates a green corridor in between.

So far, there is proposed the central Ostrava port near Vrbice between Ostrava and Bohumín, where it could make use of the areas flooded after sand gravel quarrying. In Ostrava-Mariánské hory, there is another suitable area with a convenient direct contact with a large chemical plant. Not to forget, there is the planned international economic zone Lutyně–Věřnovice–Gorzyczki at the meeting of the Olše with the Oder. On the other hand, between Ostrava and Jeseník nad Odrou, the D-O-E water corridor should retain as natural character as possible, with no berths on the banks, with an exception of the airport of Mošnov, where an industrial zone connected with the large airport is designed.