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The Floating Bridge of Curaçao

Curaçao is a Caribbean island nation off the coast of Venezuela. It’s also the new home to Juergen Horn and Mike Powell, who will be there for 91 days. Mike wrote about the Queen Emma Bridge, a unique floating pedestrian bridge in Willemstad. The water supported the bridge, but boats still must get through.

So, whenever a ship needs in or out, the bridge must open. But this one doesn’t raise and lower — it just moves to the side. The Queen Emma rests atop of a set of pontoons. The final pontoon, connecting the bridge to the Punda side, has a motor and a driver. And when a ship arrives, the entire bridge opens on a hinge, just like a door. For small ships, the bridge only needs to open a crack, but for larger vessels like oil tankers, it will swing all the way over to the Otrobanda side.

It’s a strange sensation to be on the bridge as it opens. First, the operator will close the gates on either side, and anyone still on the bridge has to wait. Usually, it’s just a couple minutes, but occasionally it takes fifteen to twenty. In the meantime, anyone who isn’t stuck on the bridge can cross between Otrobanda and Punda using a free ferry.

When you’re in Curaçao, you have to be ready to go with the flow. Read more about the bridge and see some gorgeous pictures and a video at For 91 Days.


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