The Elbe Lateral Canal (Elbe Seitenkanal) is an almost straight waterway, 115 km long that links the River Elbe at Artlenburg near Hamburg with the eastern part of the Mittelland Canal near Wolfsburg. Construction began in 1968 and it was formally opened in 1976, but closed again for a period after a serious burst. It carries standard European 1350-tonne barges.
The principal engineering feature on the canal is a lift at Scharnebeck, 10 km north-east of Luneberg, which raises and lowers boats 23 m in two counterweighted caissons that work independently. The caissons measure 100 m x 12 m, and are larger than those on similar lifts since they were designed to operate push-tow vessels. The lift opened in 1975, before the completion of the canal.
There is a museum on the site from which visitors can embark in trip boats.