Zeeland Bridge

Zeeland inaccessible

Zeeland Bridge
Video: Zeeland Bridge
The Zeeland Bridge, which connects North Beveland to Schouwen-Duiveland, is not a part of the Deltaworks. The construction was under the authority of the Province of Zeeland instead of the Ministry of Waterways and Public Works. The reason for the construction of the bridge had nothing to do with the safety of the inhabitants, but more with the accessibility of Zeeland. A favourable result of the Deltaworks was that its barrages connected most of the islands and peninsulas to each other. The Oosterschelde, however, still created a ‘gap’ between North Beveland and Schouwen-Duiveland. The province of Zeeland wanted a solid north-south connection, which was not dependent on the construction of the Oosterschelde barrage. During 1963, people still thought that the Oosterschelde would be dammed up. That project would not have been finished until 1978. Eventually, it would not be until 1986 before the barrage was actually opened. Until 1965, the ferry-boat between Zierikzee and Kats, was the only way to cross the Oosterschelde. The ferry-boat however could not handle the large amount of traffic.

The longest bridge of the Netherlands

Building activities on the 5km long Oosterscheldebridge.
Video: Oosterscheldebridge almost finished
The bridge was built between Zierikzee and Colijnsplaat. It measured a total length of five kilometres, which is quite long for Dutch standards. The bridge became the longest bridge of the country. In comparison to the longest bridge of the world, however, the Zeeland Bridge is quite modest. The longest bridge of the world crosses Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, United States of America. This giant measures 38.4 kilometres! The Zeeland Bridge consists of fifty-four piers, and between them are fifty-two gaps of ninety-five metres each. There is also an immovable part which is fourty metres long. The construction of the bridge, which was still called the ‘Oosterschelde Bridge’ at the time, began in 1963.
Construction of the bridge near the Oosterschelde
Oosterschelde bridge
On the 15th of December 1967 the bridge was officially opened by late Queen Juliana. It was only in April 1967, when the bridge was renamed Zeeland Bridge. Nowadays, the Zeeland Bridge is of great importance to the traffic between Rotterdam and Goes. This importance has increased since the completion of the Westerschelde tunnel. Belgium is now accessible from Rotterdam, via the Westerschelde tunnel.

Toll

As is now the case with the Westerschelde tunnel, people had to pay a toll to use the Zeeland Bridge, up until 1993. The Province of Zeeland had contracted a loan for the construction of the bridge, which needed to be paid off. When the loan was paid off in 1989, a toll was taken for another four years, to raise the maintenance funds.