It is clear that the Rheinland-Pfalz government are in disarray over the Hochmoselübergang. Shortly after news spread around the world that bridge building had ground to a halt due to inadequate planning and lack of static calculations, a surprise demand was made for a building freeze by SPD party coalition partners the Greens. Later that same day the state ministry for infrastructure issued a statement saying that following a meeting with the building companies everything was now resolved and they can carry on building with no delay or further costs*.
The government went from having unworkable plans to ironing out all the problems in two weeks flat. They deserve a medal!
In reality, the responsible RLP ministers and their building department LBM are completely inept. Workers talk of a delay of one year, a fact which was confirmed last Thursday by LBM themselves – by quietly adding an extra year to the completion date – at the official opening of the bridge information centre
in a 2000-year-old building housing a roman wine press. This staffed (and deeply ironic) info centre is designed for tourists to come and find out how wonderful and practically ‘invisible’ the bridge will be. RLP is not ashamed to pay for this out of the tax purse even though it demonstrates they have no idea what actually turns tourists on.
Meanwhile, the bulk of the workers have not returned to the bridge site and some of those that are left have been observed shovelling materials from one area to the next and back again. Mysteriously, a new figure crept into the speech of Frau Bayer of LBM at Thursdays opening and was reported by local newspaper the Trierischer Volksfreund**: apparently the cost of the bridge has already risen by more than 50% to 200 million – a rise from 128 million. This appears contradictory given that the cost for the entire stretch of highway was stated to remain at the currently projected figure of 366 Million. Something doesn’t quite add up, but there is an addition to the problems brought on by rising costs and delays – the building firm Porr is the subject of a government inquiry into corruption in Austria.
It is blatantly irresponsible to have such incompetents in charge of an extremely difficult and sensitive project, and a disgrace that they also appear to be cowards who cover their tracks with outright lies and obfuscation. Remember the government mantra, based on no data whatsoever, of “90% are for the bridge”? The truth is that in the affected wine villages a significant number silently grieve. Instead of bequeathing a glorious legacy project, Prime Minister Kurt Beck must now be hoping the shit will not stick: he is currently preparing to quit office before his term is up, leaving others to deal with the giant dog mess he has deposited on the state.
As a protest group, Pro-Mosel recently passed a significant anniversary – our 25,000 signature petition against the bridge which outlines the potential geological hazards, escalating costs and redundancy of the traffic forecasts has been with the national government for two years now without a hearing.