A multifunctional project
The Volkerak dam is a secondary dam. This means that the dam was built to make the construction of other dams, such as the Oosterschelde barrier, the Brouwers dam and the Haringvliet dam, possible. The Volkerak dam has a connecting and separating function. On one side, the dam connects North-Brabant, Goeree-Overflakkee and the Hoekse Waard to each other, whereas on the other side, the dam separates three waters: the Hollandsch Diep, the Haringvliet and the Volkerak. In fact, the dam consists of three parts, which come together on the Hellegats square. The whole looks like the Mercedes-sign.
1. A dam from the Hellegats square to Goeree-Overflakkee
2. A dam including a lock from the Hellegats square to North Brabant
3. A bridge from the Hellegats square to the Hoekse Waard.
The construction started in 1957. The first part of the Volkerak dam consisted of a closed dam from Goeree to Hellegatsplaat. No cable ways or caissons were needed for this part. The closing gap was filled with sand until it was closed. The second part of the Volkerak dam consisted of a fixed piece of dam with a lock, which connected Hellegatsplaat to North-Brabant. The fixed part was closed by means of caissons. The lock was necessary to let the shipping traffic through between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Meanwhile, one had to prevent too much fresh river water from the Maas and the Waal flowing into the waters of Zeeland. The third piece of the Volkerak dam was a bridge under which the water from the large rivers could flow into the Haringvliet. A huge traffic junction was built at the place where the three parts meet. The Volkerak was closed in 1969.