When the (Canal) Walls Come Tumbling Down

Bemuurde Weerd
As I mentioned last week, one of the sections of the historic Bemuurde Weerd canal wall collapsed when the water saturation got to be a bit too much. Since then, they’ve been working to shore up the remaining wall and the exposed area, and prevent any additional damage to the street, bridge, and buildings in the area.
Bemuurde Weerd
I went today to see the damage for myself. All the bits that are dirt, used to have a brick covering, like the section on the right. I’m guessing that the combination of the roots and the weight of the tree that stood in that area became too much for the water-saturated dirt and the tree collapsed, taking a good chunk of the old wall with it.
Bemuurde Weerd
Additional trees that line the embankment have been trimmed back today, though fortunately, they seemed to be keeping the trees. I think. I hope!

Boats — including the city tour boats — were able to pass the area, going under the bridge, which is still standing. I had photos of various boats passing, but my camera ate those photos and many others. *weeps* The lock, though, remains closed.
Bemuurde Weerd
In fact, they were planning on opening the waterway back up to boats coming through the lock at 1 p.m. today, but a small gas leak (unrelated to the repairs, as it turns out), has delayed the opening until around 6 p.m. tonight, according to the latest updates from the city.

Sadly, though, Sinterklaas will have to find a new arrival spot. The area that collapsed is roughly where his boat from Spain usually docks to the roaring cheers of lots of children (and a few adults).

And so with that, the work goes on …
Bemuurde Weerd
Bemuurde Weerd
Bemuurde Weerd
Bemuurde Weerd

Utrecht is Drowning

We’ve had a fair bit of rain the past few days, but not enough that I would have expected a whole chunk of the wall/road along the northern section of the Oudegracht to simply give way. Yet that’s what happened today. The eastern side of the Bemuurde Weerd has collapsed.

The historic embankment dates back to 1300. It is in this area that Sinterklaas arrives each year, and in fact, the part that collapsed seems to be right where I’ve stood in years past. It’s only about a month until Sinterklaas’s arrival, so I’m not sure what they’ll do now, since much of the surrounding area is unstable at the moment.

So far, one tree has collapsed into the canal, blocking boats and taking part of the embankment with it. Another tree seems to be at risk, and the road/bridge next to the Nijntje Pleintje is also considered unstable at this point. According to some of the photos posted to Twitter, it looks like a cart and even a car are also at risk of going in.

I’m sure the Dutch mastery over water will win out in the end, but for now, water has won this round.

ETA: A few more photos and video of the disaster.
And a depiction of what the original defensive gate looked like that stood on that spot.