Working with the tide, Dutch heavy-left specialist Mammoet spent Sunday night removing a redundant 5,000-tonne, 30-metre-high steel arch bridge over the Lek River at Vianen in central Netherlands.
It will spend the next two weeks working 24/7 to cut the structure into pieces in the outer harbour of the Princess Beatrix lock in preparation for its recycling back into raw steel.
Mammoet said the plan was to reduce the size of the structure enough for it to pass under the adjacent Jan Blankenbrug bridge for demolition at the Mammoet terminal in Schiedam, from where the parts will go for final recycling.
Working for Dutch state infrastructure agency Rijkswaterstaat and contracting joint venture KWS-VES-DDM, Mammoet conducted the operation between 8.30pm Sunday and 1.00am Monday.
Some 6,000 people watched a live stream of the feat to remove the “Iron Lady”, the nickname for the bridge, which was made redundant by two new bridges over the Lek for the A2 motorway.
To lift the bridge, Mammoet built a large gantry system that would lift the arch. Eight masts were mounted on a pontoon under the bridge, which were linked to eight lifting towers on it. At high tide, the pontoon took on the bridge’s weight.
Rijkswaterstaat environment manager Sascha Oskam said: “I am extremely proud that we managed this extensive operation together. The removal was safe and controlled. Our contractor combination KWS-VES-DDM has done a great job.”