BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

Filth does not look good on a cycle bridge

It’s the “no post week” and by fate I had to be in Rotterdam again last week. This time for the sad occasion of the funeral ceremony of one of my first cousins. Rotterdam is quite a journey from my home and I didn’t want to risk being late in case anything went wrong with the trains or with the OV-Fiets (bike share) that I had to use for the second leg of the journey. Nothing went wrong and that resulted in me being 45 minutes early. I had to be near the cycle bridge over the A15 motorway that I posted about when it was opened a little over two-and-a-half years ago. At the time, the magnificent bridge was called “De Groene Verbinding” (the Green Connection), because it connects Rotterdam with a developing green nature reserve, just south of the city. But the bridge has since been renamed “Portlandsebrug”. Not after the fine cycling city in Oregon, but after a new residential area and a polder in the area*. To my unpleasant surprise a lot more had changed! In the time I had to spare, I decided to have a look at the bridge, thinking I would be cheered up by the bright colours of this beautiful bridge. That worked out a bit differently. When you don’t do any (or much) maintenance, a bridge like that clearly doesn’t stay beautiful! I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

The filth is especially visible inside the tube of the bridge. Apparently rain doesn't get inside enough to wash the dirt away.

2017: The filth is especially visible inside the tube of the bridge. Apparently rain doesn’t get inside enough to wash the bridge clean. The once bright colours have turned completely drab.

2014: The bright colours of the surface and the white of the bridge looked a whole lot better when the bridge was just opened.

2014: The bright colours of the surface and the white of the bridge looked a whole lot better when the bridge was just opened.

2017: A close-up of the once white bridge parts.

2017: A close-up of the once white bridge parts, now covered with a film of dirt.

2014: Will it ever be this clean again?

2014: Will it ever be this clean again?

2017: that cycle path was once a bright colour...

2017: that cycle path was once a bright colour…

2014: just after the bridge was finished.

2014: just after the bridge was finished.

2017: From a distance the bridge looks better than it is. At least the grass has grown well.

2017: From a distance the bridge looks better than it is. At least the grass has grown well.

2014: Just after the opening the whole area was just sand.

2014: Shortly after the opening the whole area was just sand.

2016: That the grass and shrubs grow so well was also a problem. Only after complaints by residents the city of Rotterdam cut away the green overgrowing the access ramp of the bridge. Can someone also ask them to hose the bridge someday soon?

2016: That the grass and shrubs grow so well was also a problem. Only after repeated complaints by residents, the city of Rotterdam finally removed the foliage overgrowing the access ramp of the bridge. Can someone also ask them to hose the bridge someday soon?

It's not that the city of Rotterdam doesn't do any maintenance. Some of the surface did get repaired, albeit in a seemingly hastyly fashion.

It’s not that the city of Rotterdam doesn’t do any maintenance. Some of the surface did get repaired, albeit in a seemingly hastily fashion.

The bridge in better days. My video to celebrate the opening, from the earlier post.

* There is a name connection between Portland Oregon and Portland Netherlands. The residential area called Portland in Rhoon near Rotterdam was named after a polder, owned (in the 17th century) by William Bentinck, who was the first Earl of Portland. That Portland being a island in the English Channel. Portland Oregon was named after Portland Maine, which in turn was named after the same British island the Dutch Portland was named after.
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8 comments on “Filth does not look good on a cycle bridge

  1. Dennis Hindman
    9 February 2017
  2. Larry W.
    7 February 2017

    I think we can all complain about maintenance in our respective towns and cities.

    Thanks Mark for showing the good and bad about Dutch infrastructure. Your honesty makes Dutch cycling infrastructure more attainable to those of us whose infrastructure lags decades behind, and Dutch missteps remind that all of us are human and sometimes our designs and maintenance fall short of our best intentions.

    My condolences on your family’s loss.

  3. stripymoggie
    7 February 2017

    Having one of the Netherlands most busy motorways underneath ensures a steady supply of grime.

  4. Koen
    7 February 2017

    Well, perhaps that says something about our air quality as well, over here in the Netherlands. I’ve heard it’s the one of the worst in western Europe. Since Rotterdam is a heavily industialized area, it could be even worse over there? Anyway, the electric car is not the solution to transport and parking problems, but once all vehicles become electrified, that portion of air pollution will be a lot less.

  5. Jk
    7 February 2017

    Dirty or not it’s still a magnificent bridge with a futuristic design. Can you contact someone in the right department and request it be cleaned? It doesn’t look like it would take too long to do with the right equipment and once cleaned it would add greatly to the quality of life.

    • Jan
      7 February 2017

      Not sure if it would increase ‘quality of life’, but it quite likely would lower the long term maintenance cost. Dirt and grime is detrimental to paint, and holds moisture which can lead to corrosion.

      • Jk
        7 February 2017

        Yes, the smart, economical thing to do is to clean it now and maintain that condition. Someone please call who is ever responsible and get it clean now!

        Cleanliness, pleasant architecture, nature, etc. all affect the quality of life of a society. For example, if you live in a dirty place with trash on the ground you will feel different than if your environment is clean and orderly. When you feel better you do better, in all respects.

        Look at many towns in Holland. The are clean and orderly – and prosperous with happy people, in general. Then look at towns in parts of Western Europe that are soot covered and dirty. The people in general are sad, don’t smile and this is reflected in the economy.

  6. CyclinginEdmontonfromtheEyesofaTeen
    7 February 2017

    The dead leave us too soon, first your dad, now a cousin. At least hopefully there is someone to carry on your genes Mark.

    And you think that’s poor maintenance on the Portlandbrug? You should see some of the neglected roads of my city, crumbling asphalt, years to repair potholes, no suitable place to ride a bike in many cases, it’s horrible.

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This entry was posted on 7 February 2017 by in Original posts and tagged , , , .

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