The Van Brienenoord Bridge (Dutch: Van Brienenoordbrug) is an arch bridge for car traffic over the river Nieuwe Maas, which is a major distributary of the river Rhine. The bridge is located at the east side of Rotterdam, Netherlands. The bridge consists of two almost identical arches laying parallel and next to each other, followed by three bascule bridges. Every day over 250,000 vehicles cross the Van Brienenoord Bridge, which is part of the A16 highway, the most busy road in the Netherlands. Bicycles can use the bridges to cross the Nieuwe Maas river. The Van Brienenoord Bridge is 1320 metres long and ships of 24 metres and lower can pass through underneath it.
The eastern (287,5 m long) arch was built in 1965, the western (305 m long and slightly broader) one followed in 1990. The bridge is named after the underlying Eiland van Brienenoord (Island of Brienenoord) in the river, which was bought by and named after baron Arnoud Willem van Brienen van de Groote Lindt in 1847. Oord means an area.
An average of 140.000 ships pass the bridge every year. Approximately 500 of these ships require the bridge to be opened, a process which takes 18 minutes. Suspending road traffic and opening the bridge takes 4 minutes, letting the ship pass takes 10 minutes, and closing the bridge requires an additional 4 minutes. During this time, road traffic is blocked by boom barriers. As of November 2005, the bridge is no longer controlled locally but from the nearby city of Rhoon, where the region's Road Traffic Control is located.
A request to open the bridge for shipping needs to be made at the harbor authorities at least three hours in advance.
An electro-mechanical failure on 17 March 2006 left the bridge open for about an hour, on the middle of day, causing traffic jams up to 7 kilometres in length. The western bridge was closed first, restoring traffic to Breda. The eastern bridge was closed at approximately 1 AM, restoring traffic to The Hague and Utrecht. On 5 November 2006 it failed to close again, this time due to an electrical failure, forcing engineers to close the bridge manually.
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