The 80-year-old Maastunnel under the river through central Rotterdam is again open to bikes after a careful three-year renovation and restoration.
Designed in the 1930’s the tunnel was a vital link between the two halves of the massive city.
In the 1950’s more than 40,000 bikes made the journey every day.
The bike tunnel is one of a group of three tunnels built at the beginning of World War 2 - there is also a road tunnel and pedestrian tunnel in the complex.
It is more than 500 metres long, 5 metres wide and is 20 metres below the surface of the water.
There are four escalators at each end to take bikes up and down to the tunnel structure.
The tunnel walls are tiled, giving it a unique period appearance.
Every tile was removed and replaced during the project, mostly with with matching new tiles.
The new lighting—although energy efficient LEDs—casts a carefully calibrated period glow. Even the wooden escalators were meticulously restored.
Since the re-opening the tunnel has become a tourist attraction.
Bike and pedestrian tunnels of this scale are unusual.
In this case there was no possibility of a bridge. Rotterdam is Europes biggest port and the ships are so large than any bridge over river would have been so high that the length of the approach ramps would have made the connection to the bridge too distant for the people who were to use it.
A ferry was utilised to takes bike across the river during the renovation
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.