The bridge on the Stuwweg in Maastricht is in danger of collapsing after a houseboat collided with it on Thursday morning. The boat had become loose and swept away by the strong current.
The collision caused one of the pillars in the middle of the bridge to collapse. According to the South Limburg Safety Region, a kink is visible. No one is allowed on the bridge.
The emergency services closed the bridge on Wednesday evening. The bridge forms the connection between the place where the houseboats are moored and the rest of the region.
The houseboat floated away at the spot where a section of dike had been washed away by high water in the Maas. No one was present in the houseboat, which is still against the bridge.
It is not yet clear what happens to the boat that broke loose. According to a spokesperson for the safety region, it can only be recovered once the water has gone. “Until then we will try to secure the boat so that nothing happens to it.”
Residents of thirty houseboats evacuated
Due to the strong current, a 120-meter-wide spillway broke over a width of 50 meters on Wednesday. As a result, the houseboats were in danger of leaning crookedly.
A spillway is a raised wall designed to retain water. At high tide, some water may run over it.
All thirty houseboats between the Maas and the Zuid-Willemsvaart in the Boschpoort district have therefore been evacuated. Residents are accommodated in hotels and at a local water sports club. They are not allowed to go back in to get things, the safety region reports.
Maastricht Mayor Wim Hillenaar talks to the residents of the houseboats on Thursday morning.
Ontvang meldingen bij nieuws over wateroverlast
Rijkswaterstaat wants to stabilize houseboats
Rijkswaterstaat called in contractors on Thursday to examine the situation of the houseboats. They are figuring out how to stabilize the houseboats to prevent more boats from drifting.
That’s not easy. “The problem is that we cannot get onto the bridge, and the ground around it is very boggy due to the heavy rain. The question is whether heavy equipment can be used on it,” says Rijkswaterstaat.
They are also considering how to approach the restoration of the dam. The hole in the dam widened during the night from Wednesday to Thursday. Rijkswaterstaat is “doing everything it can to close the gap as quickly as possible”.
The high water of the Maas reaches its peak in Maastricht on Thursday. But according to the safety region, this has no influence on the situation around the dam and the boats.
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl