Hoogwatergeul Veessen-Wapenveld (high water channel) is a unique project for the Dutch water management: instead of stopping the water, the water is being let in. If the water level in the river IJssel rises to a critical level, the Hoogwatergeul will be opened up. The channel functions as by-pass for the river, to lower the water level and to minimize the risk of flooding.
The Hoogwatergeul has a length of 8 km and is flanked by two long embankments. To the north and south two long bridges form the respective inlet and outlet for the water. The bridges both have a length of 800 meters. The southern bridge, the inlet, has an integrated hydraulic engineering work composed of 60 lock gates, a mechanism similar to the Delta Works. The inlet is easy to operate, so that in 100 years one can still operate the Hoogwatergeul.
An interdisciplinary team of architects, landscape architects and engineers worked together to create an integrated design for each individual item of Hoogwatergeul. The design emphasizes spaciousness, transparency and the quietness of the landscape. The bridges are designed as solid, secure waterworks that are carefully integrated into the landscape. Besides the two civil works, the Hoogwatergeul consists of 11 smaller bridges and one pumping station. The other bridges are designed in conjunction with the major bridges: all parts of the Hoogwatergeul have a similar character. The functionality of the Hoogwatergeul is explained through subtle signage on the bridge pillars, emphasizing to users that this is a special place.