Part of a historic bridge in the Netherlands will be dismantled so that a superyacht being built for tycoon Jeff Bezos can pass, Bloomberg reported

According to reports, the Dutch city of Rotterdam has already agreed to remove part of the century-old Koningshaven drawbridge known locally as De Hef. The bridge was recently renovated but will be partly dismantled to accommodate the massive $500 million yacht reportedly being built for the Amazon founder.

Alblasserdam-based custom yacht builder Oceanco is building the approximately 127-meter yacht. As reported by Bloomberg, for the vessel to reach the ocean, it has to pass through Rotterdam and must be forced to pass through the De Hef, as it can rise 39 meters, but that is not enough for the giant sails of Bezos’ yacht to pass.

This possibility of the iconic bridge being demolished caused an uproar among residents of the Dutch city, who expressed their discontent.

“I think it’s easy to understand why it’s so controversial because this is a very beautiful, recently restored old bridge,” said Lizette Touber, one of the locals, according to the Associated Press. “It really is our heritage. And I think that if the rich can pay for it to be opened, which normally nobody else could do, then you get controversy,” she added.

Meanwhile, Stephan Leewis, a Rotterdam politician, wrote on Twitter. “This man has earned his money by structurally cutting staff, evading taxes, avoiding regulations and now we have to tear down our beautiful national monument?.”

Some opinions supported the city’s decision to allow the bridge to be dismantled, claiming that the city benefits economically from the construction of mega yachts. 

“I think it’s fine. Let Bezos pay a high price. It creates work. I only see upsides,” said Ria van den Vousten, another Rotterdam resident.

“If it is paid for and everybody makes some money, don’t complain. Don’t talk, but act, as we say in Rotterdam,” she added.

The construction company Oceanco would be responsible for paying the cost of demolishing the bridge, said Frances van Heijst, a spokeswoman for Rotterdam, who defended the project because of its sizeable economic significance for the city. 

However, a spokesman for Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told AP on Friday while there is a request to dismantle the bridge, no permit has yet been granted.

He said that before any authorization is issued, the city will assess the economic impact and the structural risks to the historic bridge.

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