Concerns over lack of repair of quays and bridges: “Lack of money is no excuse”

The quays and bridges headache file recently acquired another new chapter. According to Traffic Alderman Melanie van der Horst, starting in 2026, there is a risk of running out of money for much-needed renovations. A disturbing and unnecessary development, according to architect Andre van Stigt and logistics expert Walter Bleus van Amstel.

“Sharon Dijksma put it on the map and it’s now being pushed back,” says van Stigt. “It’s really no reason, except no money. But ‘no money’ isn’t a reason. Then you have to do it smartly. There’s a problem, and it needs to be solved.”

Sinkholes and collapsed canals

That problem, the appalling condition of Amsterdam’s canal walls and bridges, has had the full attention of the city council for a few years now. There have been concerns over the years, with a sinkhole appearing in Marnixstraat in 2017 and part of Nassaukade collapsing in 2018.

“The danger of not having money for a while is that we disrupt that nice train of getting things done quickly.”

Walter Blues van Amstel, AUAS Lecturer in City Logistics
But how bad the gavage and bridges really are will become clear after a large inventory by the end of 2018. “It won’t take five years, it won’t take ten years, but I suspect it will take decades to sort this all out,” Alderman Sharon Dijksma, who was in charge at the time, said. AT5.

Short term solutions

Dijksma will present an action plan in 2019. Expected costs: around two billion euros. We are now four years, a few new incidents and two aldermen. Long-term solutions based on cash shortages are now being pushed aside for short-term diversions.

This means, among other things, that Alderman van der Horst will focus on boosting the weak spots in some places so that they last another thirty years or more. This time Dijksma wanted to invest in long-term solutions.

“You can’t stick plasters”

Andre van Stigde, architect

“The danger of not having money for a while is that we disrupt that nice train of getting things done quickly,” says Blues van Amstel. “And then you’re putting a lot of ‘good money’ aside, and at the same time you want a good approach quickly and quickly. So I’m very concerned.”

Remove the causes

Van Stigt shares those concerns. “You can’t just stick plasters on. And as a city, when you want to cut costs, I think it’s really important to see if you can eliminate the causes. Then you’re not just fighting the effects.”

One of those reasons was the heavy weight that bridges and quays had to bear on a daily basis, which were not built at that time. “Especially think about those stupid cranes, those mobile cranes that everybody puts down. So they’re really heavy extreme loads,” says van Stigt. “For the rest, we see that a lot of freight traffic is not bundled. You have to bundle at the edge of the city, so you get very few movements within the city, for example, which is happening now in Westport,” adds Blues van Amstel.

“Of course you have to adjust for a hundred years, not twenty-five years.”

Walther Blues von Amstel, Logistics City Logistics HvA
Measures to keep heavy goods traffic out of the city center have already been taken in recent years, such as stricter rules for exceptions. “But what I see, for example, when I look at the bridge in the Leidsestraat: it’s completely filled with trucks,” says Blues van Amstel.

“The deal is: don’t stand still on vulnerable bridges, that creates a huge burden. I think we need to make it a little bit harder to exempt sectors now.'”

should be implemented

Van Stigke Many projects have already been completed In it he moved almost all traffic by water. And according to him, this should not be done only when renovating the seas. “You have to deal with those banks yourself from the water. Then there’s less disturbance and you’re making sure you’re not undermining from that side,” says van Stigt.

“You have to make that adjustment for a hundred years, not twenty-five years of course,” says Blues van Amstel. “Get the job done, don’t just stick on emergency plasters,” says van Stigt. Finally, Blues Van Amstel: “And enforce it. Make sure the department abides by the rules we have for each other.”

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