National Boards > Bridges

Abandoned freeway bridge in the Netherlands

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Chris:
Old Lek Bridge Vianen

The Old Lek Bridge is a Lek River bridge near the town of Vianen, just south of Utrecht. This bridge opened to traffic in 1936 as a 4-lane bridge, and it was subsequently destroyed in war-time in 1945. After that, a pontoon existed to carry traffic across the river, and in 1948 works began to rebuild the bridge. It was completed in 1949 and the bridge reopened to traffic.

The bridge was reconstructed in 1967, adding a central barrier and bicycle paths on either side. The bridge carried traffic until 1999, when a new six-lane Lek Bridge opened immediately west of the old bridge. A third bridge was constructed in 2004 and carries modern-day A2. This bridge will be widened to 2x4 lanes in 2011, and there are plans to demolish the old bridge at the same time. A local action group is trying to prevent that, and keep the old bridge as a National monument.

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Alps:
It would have been nice if the old bridge were used for pedestrian and bicycle access, saving the new bridge for vehicles only and thus ensuring life for the old bridge.  Sadly, I don't think there is much chance to save the old one - if it's not already deemed historic, it's not likely to suddenly succeed.

mapman:
Why was the new bridge built?  Was the old bridge structurally deficient, or was additional traffic capacity needed?

Chris:
Additional capacity was needed, this 4-lane bridge was one of the worst bottlenecks in the Netherlands during the 90's. The A2 currently carries approximately 130,000 vehicles per day and will grow to 180,000 vehicles per day in 2020, requiring a wider bridge.

The old bridge is nearing the end of it's lifespan and 11 years of disuse requires extensive conservation, estimated at 15 million. The bridge is not historically unique. It was once proposed that this bridge would carry a light rail line, but apparently it is too expensive.

Truvelo:
I was going to ask if the lighting still works but it seems the doors on the columns are missing. The only hope for the bridge is if traffic on the A2 keeps growing so much that C/D roads are needed then it can accommodate 3 lanes and a shoulder.

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