Elbe Lateral Canal

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Elbe Lateral Canal
Length115 km (71 mi)
Construction began1968
Date completed1976
Start pointMittelland Canal near Gifhorn, Germany
End pointElbe at Artlenburg, Germany
The Elbe Lateral Canal in Bad Bevensen
Locks on the Elbe Lateral Canal at Uelzen

The Elbe Lateral Canal (German: Elbe-Seitenkanal; About this soundGerman pronunciation ), is a 115-kilometre (71 mi) long canal in Lower Saxony, Germany. It runs from the Mittelland Canal near Gifhorn to the Elbe in Artlenburg. It forms an important transport connection between southern and northern Germany, and it provides a bypass of a section of the Elbe with limited navigability. At the construction start it was also thought as a bypass outside the GDR, considered politically unreliable.

Construction of the Elbe Lateral Canal was started in 1968, and the canal was opened in June 1976. Due to a dam rupture, it was closed from July 1976 until June 1977. The difference in elevation between the Mitteland Canal and the Elbe is 61 metres (200 ft), which is overcome by a 23-metre (75 ft) lock at Uelzen and the Scharnebeck twin ship lift, a 38-metre (125 ft) boat lift at Scharnebeck. There are small ports along the canal in Lüneburg, Uelzen and Wittingen, and a landing stage at Wulfstorf (near Bienenbüttel).


Coordinates: 52°25′N 10°38′E / 52.417°N 10.633°E / 52.417; 10.633