Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Rotterdam 'De Hef' Rail Road Bridge, Netherlands.

‘De Hef’ (‘hef’ means lever) is a steel railroad bridge that connects the Noordereiland (Northern Island) in the Maas river with the Southern part of Rotterdam.. The bridge was built in 1877 as a swing bridge to connect railroad traffic in the North of the Netherlands with the South of the Netherlands. ‘De Hef’ was part of a very long railroad bridge of a few kilometres length that went straight through the city of Rotterdam. In 1918 a German steamship ran into the swing bridge and the swing bridge was destroyed. It was decided that a lift bridge should replace the swing bridge and in 1927 the current lift bridge was completed. It was the first one if its kind in Western Europe. De Hef uses two towers of 60 meters with counterweights of concrete to lift the span parallel with the deck.  This allows big ships to pass under the bridge.
In 1993 a 2800 meter railroad tunnel was opened to replace De Hef and other railroad bridges. Today De Hef is not used anymore, although you can still see the railroad tracks at the bridge. The bridge is always open today and is an official monument.

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