This year, PWMC Vode Vojvodine marks the 160th anniversary of the Bezdan Ship Lock construction which is one of the oldest ship locks on the canals in Vojvodina. This particularly significant structure of hydrotechnical heritage was the first structure in Europe which had been built by means of underwater concrete pouring.

Construction of Bezdan Ship Lock located at the confluence of the Grand Bačka Canal and the Danube River began in 1846 and was completed ten years later, in 1856. The construction of the Vrbas-Bezdan Canal extension and the ship lock began in 1846 but the works were interrupted during the revolution in 1848 and 1849.

Engineer Johannes Mihalik, designer and contractor of the Bezdan Ship Lock in the period between 1855 and 1856 decided to go with underwater concrete pouring which has never been applied until then. Merely simple water pumps were used in that period.

A concrete factory was established on the construction site and concrete works were carried out continuously for 90 days. Underwater concrete pouring was carried out by means of six submersible crates with movable bottom. As soon as submersible crate reached the determined point the bottom was opened, pouring another layer of concrete. Bezdan Ship Lock had two folding gates on both ends of the chamber. The gates were used in accordance with the water stage at the moment of vessels’ entry into the ship lock.

Bezdan Ship Lock is designed to serve vessels of up to 500 t capacity. During regular water stage, boats of up to 62 meters in length and 2 meters of draft can pass through the ship lock. In the ship lock’s prime years, between 500 and 600 vessels would annually enter it and pass through it.

This ship lock is not in use except during the flood control against high waters of the Danube River. PWMC Vode Vojvodine compiled project documentation for remediation of the Bezdan Ship Lock. The company is currently trying to find sources of funding to execute the necessary works.