Hundreds of residents living north of the city of Groningen were dismayed to hear that the Paddepoelster bridge near Zernike may not be replaced.
During a meeting on Tuesday night in the village of Adorp, a representative for the Dutch Public Works and Water Management department announced that the bridge, which was damaged when a ship struck it in September, may be removed altogether rather than repaired.
The Groninger Internet Courant writes that Paddepoelster bridge connects the Zernike Science Park to the Paddepoelsterweg and is a popular thoroughfare for cyclists, hikers and local traffic. A two-kilometre detour has been set up while the damaged bridge is closed, but local residents were stunned to learn on Tuesday that the bridge may never reopen.
According to RTV Noord, the Dutch Public Works and Water Management department is mainly concerned about safety. The cargo ships that use the Van Starkenborgh canal are becoming larger and are carrying more freight than in the past, and the pivoting bridge makes it difficult for two ships to pass through simultaneously.
The bridge was only one-meter-high, which meant that it had to open for every single passing ship. If a new bridge is built at the site, it would need to be much taller to accommodate the frequent boat traffic. OOG TV reports that the Public Works and Water Management department is considering other alternatives, such as a permanent bridge for cyclists, but any replacement could disrupt the landscape.