All about cycling in the Netherlands
My pictures of a new bridge in Rotterdam got a lot of your interest last weekend*. Not surprising, because the Green Connection (De Groene Verbinding) in Rotterdam indeed is a spectacular new bridge for cycling and walking. It was festively opened on Wednesday 11th June last, by Rotterdam’s alderman Joost Eerdmans and the architect. The bridge connects Rotterdam to a (to be developed) nature reserve and recreational area south of the city, that measures 600 hectares (1,482.6 acres).
The bridge is 190 metres (623Ft) long and crosses the freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany and the motorway A15 at a height of 9 metres (29.5Ft). The white steel against the blue sky in the exceptional shape and the bright yellow surface make this bridge something really special.
The design of the bridge is by Marc Verheijen, an architect of the city of Rotterdam. It cost over 9.2 million Euro. The span had to be very large at this location, where the motorway is extra wide because of a resting area with a fuel station. The motorway will also be widened next year and that has already been taken into account.
The footway and the cycleway are 6.5 metres (21Ft) wide in total. The outside of the bridge is wider, because of the way the bridge is constructed: a mesh of steel tubes that cross each other diagonally, forming an oval shape. The design resembles the famous elevated tram track in The Hague, nicknamed ‘the fish net stocking’. Here the oval shape changes: it is horizontal at either end of the bridge and vertical in the middle. This gives the bridge a very interesting design. At the Rotterdam side there is an extra staircase for pedestrians to provide a short cut to an area with big box shops.
655 metric tons of steel
32 bridge decks
960 welded connections
608 panels of expanded metal
625 metres of handrail (2050.5Ft)
190 metres long (623Ft)
9 metres high (29.5Ft)
6.5 metres wide (23Ft)
It took about 30 months to build the bridge. But most of the activities took place in a factory in Vlissingen, 130 kilometres (81m) from the bridge’s final location. In the Spring of 2012 the first activities at the bridge’s location started. When the ground works were finished the bridge could be transported to its destination. The two parts of the bridge were transported by ship to Rotterdam.
The bridge arrived on 22nd of August 2013 in the port of Rotterdam. From there it was transported 2 kilometres (1.2m) on a truck via the A15 motorway it now crosses. The following night the first bridge part was put in its location and again one night later the final part was put it its place. These nights drew a large crowd and there were festivities in the presence of a lot of officials. The motorway had to be closed for these three nights.
The province of South-Holland published a video showing how the bridge was transported.
Finishing the bridge took until June this year and the bridge is now in use.
The nature reserve that will be created south of Rotterdam between Rhoon and Barendrecht meets some protest. Farmers in the area leading a protest group collected 35,000 signatures against it. The nature reserve must be constructed under a legal obligation to compensate loss of nature because Rotterdam expanded its port. The redevelopment has already started and is supposed to be finished in 2021. But because of the opposition the national government and the province of South-Holland who are in charge of this project now consider alternative plans that were presented by the former Dutch minister for Agriculture and Nature, early June 2014. The plans for 200 hectares (494 acres) of wetlands may be altered. Whatever the outcome of this reconsideration, there will be a nature reserve and it can already very easily be reached on foot and by bicycle because of this new bridge.
My video portrait of the new bridge at Rotterdam “De Groene Verbinding” (The Green connection).
A ride on the new bridge from the south-west entrance to the north.
(All the sandy bits will be covered in grass again very soon.)