Monday, 14 Oct 2019
D–O–E route - Through Poland to the navigable Oder 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
All Pages

Through Poland to the navigable Oder

The section between the ending point of the navigable Oder at Kożle and the border of the Czech Republic spans to mere 50 km and features a highly convenient conditions for the construction of the D-O-E water corridor – even more favorable than the first stage between the Danube and South Moravia. Moreover, its construction already began in 1939. According to the contemporary concept, the connection should not have joined the Oder directly but only through then recently finished Gliwice Canal. Until the outbreak of WWII, the 6-km stretch of the canal from the pool Nowa Wieś to Kędzierzyn was almost completed. It was finished after the war and today it represents a navigation detour called Kędzierzyn Canal. It runs to the factory port of a large chemical plant (nitrogen factory) and it serves the water transport in the same way as the even shorter section near Vienna connecting the Danube and the port of Lobau. It actually means that 2 % of the entire water corridor between the Danube and the Oder are already used for water transport; unfortunately, it is hardly a statement to boast about.


Routing and longitudinal section of the D-O-E water corridor, stage 1a.

Místo slavnostního výkopu průplavu Odra-Dunaj (dne 8. prosince 1939) dnes. Na Gliwický průplav navazuje 6 km dlouhý úsek průplavu Odra-Dunaj. 

Place of the ceremonial groundbreaking of Oder-Danube canal (8 December 1939) today. From Gliwicki Canal continue a 6 km long completed stretch of the Oder-Danube Canal.

The technical simplicity of the section between the state border to the navigable Oder was also a reason why it used to be considered a natural first stage of the canal construction. However, the current situation on the Oder waterway proves this postulate largely questionable. It would be a mistake, though, to exclude the possibility, that this stage would become a stage 1a. And not only for the low engineering demands of its route. Most of the alternations would have to be done for other, mainly flood control, reasons. Their realization is time pressing and often is already under its way. The area between the state border and the town of Racibórz is a key to flood control of towns on the Polish Oder. The Oder river basin has a form of a fan on the Czech territory. In a short stretch in the Ostrava region, four rivers meet – the Oder, the Opava, the Ostravice and the Olše. From a small river, the Oder turns into a rather large and especially willful stream. Concurrent flood waves from all four rivers could significantly endanger the Polish territory, as was last experienced in July 1997 or in May 2010.

Vodní koridor D-O-L prochází odlehčovacím kanálem kolem města Racibórz, na nějž navazuje budovaný poldr Raciborz dolny a Buków s plavební komorou třídy Vb

A flood diversion canal of the Oder circling around Racibórz. Its routing took into account needs of navigation, which basically all the bridges respect.

For decades, a large reservoir had been considered above Racibórz, which would effectively decrease culmination of high water, and at the same time worked as a water reserve for navigation on the regulated Oder. For decades, there had been negotiations between the Czech and Polish sides about the concept of the reservoir and the maximum allowable water level. In the end, they decided for stage realization. Its first stage – which has been already finished – is the polder above the village of Buków, which represents the higher (smaller) part of the reservoir. The larger (lower) part, to be finished in the near future, will probably at the beginning also remain only a “dry“ polder and only later it will be adjusted in order to hold a certain water supply. At a glance, it may seem that realization of the Racibórz–Buków polder could not contribute to the waterway construction much. Quite to the contrary, though. The word “dry“ was quoted on purpose. On the flatland above the town of Racibórz, only a very shallow reservoir could be established, with only a limited volume. In order to increase it, the future polder bottom area has been subjected to extensive gravel sand quarrying, which reaches considerable depths. The bottom of the polder will thus keep water with sufficient navigation depth even at the minimal water level. A purposeful directing of the quarrying could provide a sufficient navigation channel from the state border to Racibórz. The waterway could just “happen” here basically for free. In the section from the future dyke dam above Racibórz, there is a flood diversion canal, which was built between the wars with the respect to its future integration to the waterway to protect the town. It represents another nearly ready-made stretch of the D-O-E water corridor. From the point where the canal meets the Oder again it is mere 25 kms to reach the navigable part of the Oder. There are basically two alternative solutions. The first could connect with the Kędzierzyn Canal and run along the contour line without any locks. It is actually the route, which was proposed to be built in 1939. The other option (currently favoured by the Polish side) should head as a navigation diversion canal to the pool of the existing dam Koźle, which is again a nearly ready stretch of the waterway. This alternative would call for a lock of a medium fall. At the dam Koźle, again, a new large lock would have to be established, as the existing one, of too small dimensions, is rather a historical sight currently.

The hesitant attitude on the Polish side at the negotiations about the prior realization of the stage 1a, i.e. connection of Ostrava to the navigable Oder, only confirmed that. Despite the relative cost modesty of the stage (especially if all the necessary facilities were incorporated in the concept of the Racibórz reservoir), the negotiations did not come to any satisfactory conclusion. After decades of wasted post-war years, it looks that the better times are about to dawn. In 1998, at the presidential visit of Václav Havel to Warsaw, the cooperation on connection of CR to the navigable Oder was agreed. The Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski actually expressed his hope to see the Czech vessels with goods navigate to the Polish ports. Subsequently, in 1999, the Czech Ministry of Transport signed a memorandum with the Polish Ministry of Environment, which established a Czech-Polish expert committee preparing documentation of making the Oder navigable between Koźle and Ostrava, with a special respect to realization of the Racibórz reservoir. The mutual Oder committee (OKO) worked relatively intensively until 2003 and drew a quality study for both the Czech and the Polish part of the project. After certain personnel changes at the Czech Ministry of Transport, the further activities ceased and the committee have not met for several years until 2010 when was the committee resumed.