Apologies for languishing in a gloomy sulk for so long. There has been nothing hopeful to report over the past few months, the bridge site is being made ready for building to begin, and I couldn’t bring myself to extinguish the fervent hopes of others by documenting the progress of such monumental stupidity.
Here you can see the prepared site for 7 of the piers, and in the second photo the ambitious reach of the bridge. Despite the depressing situation, the fight is not over. Campaigners, vintners and wine critics have not lost faith in the resurrection of a critical gaze that could ultimately prove capable of upturning the monstrous applecart, even though the current suspension of sanity by the politicians of Rheinland-Pfalz and the Federal German government shows no obvious route to political resolution.
Whilst existing infrastructure in Germany crumbles about our ears (especially, many road bridges are in dire need of reinforcement), and while residents of a nearby area clamour for the completion of a half-built motorway to relieve their put-upon villages, the money goes instead to the ruination of one of Germany’s greatest cultural assets. The celebrated ‘man-made cultural landscape’ of the Middle Mosel, where for more than 2000 years grapes have been farmed, Riesling developed, and the art of winemaking gradually exalted into creating what is often regarded by critics as the best white wine region of the world. On a visit to the bridge site, the esteemed and best selling wine writer Hugh Johnson said if he could save any vineyards from deliberate destruction it would be these.
To recap: A giant bridge in the worst possible location will destroy the look and feel of the region. The 6 miles of vineyards affected by the motorway (not called a motorway as such, to distract from objections) will suffer unfathomable consequences to their water provision as the the road destroys the water table above them. The noise and particulate pollution will further damage the image of the region and the perception of quality of its superlative wines. And for good measure, the steep slopes of the area offer a wholly unknowable (and mostly untested) building ground that is prone to slide, potentially risking disaster for vineyards and residents alike. Yet the government assures us this adds up to a boost for tourism, so what’s not to like?
Our campaign is a natural home for highly creative people. We can very easily conjure up a number of alternative plans, any one of which would enable most of the existing building works to remain and cost a fraction of any recompense needed to stop the project. This would prevent the somewhat expected nightmare scenario of the recklessness grinding to a halt with a few bridge legs already standing – due to a complete collapse in the project’s spiralling finances down the line. I would like to try to encourage support for the promotion of such a viable and wonderful alternate reality, so that (at least in my own mind) something fantastic can be brought into existence. I know it is only a dream, I have discovered how difficult it is to bring power to bear on politicians of every stripe. I have to do something. When you actually see this landscape, you know for certain that the bridge has no place here. The planners have only looked, they have never seen.