In recent years, the successful modernization of the Danube waterway has been associated above all with one term: FAIRway Danube. The outstanding EU co-financed project coordinated by viadonau not only created enormous visibility for the importance of cross-border cooperation for a top-developed fairway. With its successes, the international flagship project paved the way for strong follow-up projects. An ambitious sequel, FAIRway Danube II, valued at 70 million euros (47 million euros EU funding), officially approved by the EU at the end of June, will continue the successful course in terms of fairway modernization along the entire Danube for the coming years.
A powerful project family
The successfully completed FAIRway Danube project (July 2015 to December 2021) – involving Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania – was the first implementation phase of the "Fairway Rehabilitation and Maintenance Master Plan for the Danube and its navigable tributaries". The authorities' fleets were complemented by nine additional state-of-the art vessels for surveying and marking. The "FAIRway Works! in the Rhine-Danube Corridor", which started in April 2020, is investing in the upgrade of the Serbian Iron Gate II lock and, for example, three public mooring places in Austria. The "Preparing FAIRway 2 works in the Rhine -Danube Corridor", which started in July 2020, is preparing plans for public mooring places in Austria, Croatia and Serbia, defining next steps for the transnational waterway monitoring system (WAMOS 2.0) and laying the foundations for possible future interventions on the Croatian-Serbian Danube common section.
FAIRway Danube milestones as a strong foundation
FAIRway Danube II continues where its predecessors already initiated important developments, but also includes a number of innovative measures towards further holistic modernization of the fairway.
The planned tasks and objectives of FAIRway Danube II:
- Implementation of regular transnational monitoring of fairway conditions
- Procurement of sensors for measuring water levels, fairway depths and bridge clearance heights
- Upgrading the national waterway management systems and the transnational waterway monitoring system (WAMOS 2.0) to increase their performance and efficiency and to improve information provision to users
- Extending the lead time of level forecasting – a key tool for logisticians
- Testing flexible infrastructure elements in Austria, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. This unique approach will provide a non-invasive, nature-based solution for low water periods, as it can be used to flexibly influence fairway depth. In this way, the reliability of inland navigation will be improved without any permanent impact on habitats and ecosystems.
- Modernization of existing berths in Austria and Romania to improve infrastructure, especially in terms of crew safety and mobility. The work also includes green energy solutions for shore power at each berth. Plans are also being developed for additional investments in moorings in Austria, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania.
The FAIRway Danube "project family" is co-funded by the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility CEF.