A great new roadbridge, 2 1/2 miles long and which has taken nearly four years and GBP2 million to build, was opened by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands at Gorinchem, central Holland, Mar 15.
GTV Barge traffic on the river Merwede.
GV Bride span PAN DOWN to crowd waiting.
SCU Members of guard of honour.
SLV Queen forward past guard of honour.
SV PAN... Spectators cheer.
SLV Queen concludes inspection of guard.
MV Cheering children.
MV Queen presses button.
MV Bridge mechanism working, closing span.
SCU Queen looks.
MV Span almost closed.
GV Span closes PAN to GV across bridge.
SV Queen and burgomaster across bridge.
SLV Bridge structure PAN TO barge passing under.
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Background: A great new roadbridge, 2 1/2 miles long and which has taken nearly four years and GBP2 million to build, was opened by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands at Gorinchem, central Holland, Mar 15.
The bridge takes an Amsterdam-Antwerp-Paris highway across one of the main and busiest waterways of Europe -- the wide and swift-flowing Merwede, formed by the junction of the great rivers Waal and Maas. This waterway carries an immense volume of barge traffic between Holland's huge "continental" port of Rotterdam and Germany, Belgium, France and Switzerland. By day and night incessant processions of motor-barges, some of them as large as 3,000 tons or more, pass up and down stream beneath the two long, graceful spans of the new bridge.
It replaces a steam ferry which cost road traffic a delay of up to half-an-hour and about GBP1,000,000 yearly in tolls. The route it provides between Amsterdam and Antwerp is nearly 20 miles shorter than that previously used by motor traffic wishing to avoid the ferry.
Proposals for a bridge at this point have been discussed for more than 150 years. Napoleon wanted to build a bridge there in 1811, for the "imperial highway" used by his troops marching between Amsterdam and France -- he actually set up a commission to deal with the matter and visited the spot himself but the tide of war turned against him and he found himself in Elba. Field Marshal Montgomery, more than 130 years later, is said to have picked Gorinchem as an ideal place for a military bridge when, towards the close of the second world war, he was engaged on the liberation of Holland from the Germans.