Frequently asked questions
What does the Göta Canal Company really do in winter?
When summer is over and the fairway closes, our winter works, our annual maintenance season, begins. The work includes everything from replacing an almost 200 year old lock gate to building an entirely new pier. We also own and operate real estate where a lot of renovation and new production will be happening continuously. We base our work on suggestions and comments from our visitors about their canal experience and we are always working to make the Göta Canal an even better destination to visit.
Why are you investing so much time and money in renovating the Göta Canal?
The Göta Canal is one of Sweden’s most important tourist destinations and constructions. This is something that both our owners, the Swedish Government and the people of Sweden, wish to preserve for the future. The Göta Canal attracts approximately 3 million visitors every year, making it an important driving force in the Swedish tourist industry. We think that it is a worthy investment of both time and energy.
How often do you replace the lock gates?
Since the Göta Canal has 58 locks, we need to replace or renovate a couple of lock gates every year. Sometimes we need to build an entirely new gate and sometimes only the wooden details need to be replaced. It is an arduous task that requires a great investment, all gates are built in our workshop in Berg, by our skilled canal repairmen.
In order to prevent flooding, there are also a number of regulating gates along the canal, especially on long, straight sections and near bridges. They initially worked as automatic regulators in the event of leakage, as the water suction made them shut. Nowadays, the regulating gates are necessary for repairs, to prevent having to drain large amounts of water from the canal.
How much does a new lock gate cost?
An entire new lock gate with cast iron details costs about 1 million SEK to build and install. This number includes everything from production of the gate itself, to logistics and crane lifting of both the old and the new gates.
Are you responsible for maintenance of the bridges across the Göta Canal?
Both yes and no. The Göta Canal Company owns some of the bridges across the Göta Canal and are thus responsible for their maintenance. However, some bridges crossing the canal are owned by local councils and by the Swedish Transport Administration and the respective owners are responsible for maintenance of those bridges. In summer, the Göta Canal Company is responsible for opening and closing bridges to allow boats to pass by.
What other important winter works do you perform?
We line and dredge the banks, thereby protecting the edge of the canal from wear. We grout lock chambers, a momentous task in which we grout the masonry of the locks so that it remains sealed tight. We do it every year at different locks along the canal and it is a task that needs repeating as today’s propellers erode away sediment in the gaps.
Renovation of quays and wing walls is also a project running over several years. The Göta Canal has more than 130 wing walls, many of which are in need of renovation. The work is extensive and sometimes we also, in addition to sealing the quay, need to raise it if it has sunken. A temporary blocking wall made of soil is sometimes required to let us carry out the work.