5,000 tonne steel bridge is moved successfully in one piece

The bridge on its way to be scrapped. Photo: ANP/Hollandse Hoogte Rias Immink
The bridge on its way to be scrapped. Photo: ANP/Hollandse Hoogte Rias Immink

A steel bridge spanning the river Lek near Vianen was succesfully removed at the weekend, after a failed attempt two weeks ago.

The ‘Iron Lady’ bridge, which dates from 1936, has been surplus to requirements since a parallel bridge was built 17 years ago. Despite its relatively great age, the bridge has not been listed. It has not been given a new function and maintenance costs are too high, the government’s roads department Rijkswaterstaat said.

The operation involved hoisting the bridge onto a pontoon, swiveling into the right direction and sailing it to the Prinses Beatrix sluices in Nieuwegein where it will be cut to pieces.

The operation was postponed two weeks ago when a cable snapped and officials had to wait until the water level in the Lek was sufficiently high to have a another go at transporting the 5,000 tonne bridge.

The pillars of the bridge, which are part of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie defence works and which still protect the nearby bridges, have not been removed. Rijkswaterstaat is planning to turn the structures into homes for bats.

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