I am puzzled by this news report that says that Dutch authorities in the city of Rotterdam are considering temporarily dismantling a bridge in order to allow the yacht commissioned by Jeff Bezos to reach open water.
A plan to temporarily dismantle a recently restored historic bridge in the heart of Dutch port city Rotterdam so that a huge yacht, reportedly being built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, can get to the North Sea is unlikely to be plain sailing.
Reports this week that the city had already agreed to take apart the Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as De Hef, sparked anger with one Facebook event set up calling for people to pelt the multimillion dollar yacht with rotten eggs.
However, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told The Associated Press on Friday that while a request has been submitted by a shipbuilder for the bridge to temporarily be taken apart over the summer, no permit has yet been sought or granted.
The current Hef railway bridge was opened for trains to cross the Maas River in 1927 and taken out of service in 1993 when it was replaced by a tunnel. Public protests spared it from demolition and it eventually underwent a three-year renovation that ended in 2017. The middle section of the bridge can be raised to allow ships to pass underneath, but apparently not high enough for the new yacht’s masts.
What puzzles me is that the builders did not take into account the height of the bridges that they had to pass under to get to open waters when they designed and built the yacht.
Here’s an idea. Rather than raise the bridge, why not lower the yacht as it passes under? How hard can that be? Why not put it in a bottle, cork the bottle, and then push it under water as it goes under the bridge. If Bezos has the resources to build rockets so that he can fly into space for a few minutes, surely he can waste money on this engineering challenge? It would be a lot more fun to watch too.
The thought of Bezos spending a huge amount of money on this latest vanity project and then having it stuck permanently in a dockyard and not able to reach the open ocean will undoubtedly inspire delicious feelings of schadenfreude among many people. I know it will for me. But given the amount of money that Bezos can waste, I expect that he will eventually pay enough to the Dutch authorities to overcome objections and get the bridge dismantled. The rich tend to be able to get their way.