Local media reports that a Dutch shipbuilder has retracted his plans to demolish an iconic bridge in the city. This was amid widespread outcry from residents.
Following public outcry, the Dutch company that is building the superyacht for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has now reportedly abandoned its plan to ask Rotterdam officials to remove an iconic Rotterdam bridge so it can make space for the boat.
According to local news site Trouw, Oceanco, a company that was commissioned to float out the €500-million ($520-million) yacht, backed down on temporarily taking apart Koningshavenbrug bridge, more commonly referred to as “De Hef.”
It is a three-mast yacht measuring 127 meters (417 feet) in length. However, it is too high to fit under the bridge as De Hef only has a 40-meter (131ft). The vessel must be able to reach safe distance from the ocean by removing the middle section temporarily.
Oceanco and Bezos are said to have agreed to fund all of the cost. However, fierce opposition erupted when the plan to dismantle the bridge was announced. Thousands threatened to throw rotten eggs at any yacht that sails through their neighborhood.
Trouw says Oceanco was so stunned by the opposition that they withdrew all its plans. Unnamed employees at the shipyard claimed that they felt threatened and the company worried about its vandalism. For that reason, local authorities apparently didn’t disclose some documents detailing the plan to disassemble the historic Koningshavenbrug construction.
Oceanco is not revealing what it plans to do with the bridge now that they have no other options. The outlet also suggests that Oceanco might choose to work on the vessel closer to the ocean.
In 1927, the modern design of the bridge that spans the Maas River and is 150 years old was revealed. After suffering heavy damage by German bombs, it was one of the first buildings to be repaired in this city. It was decommissioned as a railway bridge in 1993 but it has been preserved as a national monument.
Many local activists voiced opposition to the demolition of the bridge. Ton Wesselink of Historisch Genootschap Roterodamum stated in February that the bridge should be demolished. “Jobs are important, but there are limits with what you can and should do with our industrial heritage.”
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