News of the Mosel bridge construction and the continuing efforts to stop it

On October 23rd 2012 construction began on sinking the foundations in preparation for raising the first 25 metre-high bridge pier of the High Mosel Bridge (Hochmoselübergang). This work had been scheduled to go ahead in 2011 but was interrupted due to problems with the proposed building method; according to workers at the site the difficulties included faulty plans for the steel structure, inadequate spacing of the piers and a lack of necessary stabilisation for construction at the landslide-prone area on the Ürzig side of the Mosel river. Only two weeks after the delay was finally admitted to in public, the Ministry of Infrastructure announced that new calculations had been made and construction of the bridge could now begin. Despite this it has taken over seven months for any visible signs of a return to work, and the vast majority of the workers who were sent away for the self-imposed building freeze have not returned.

The campaign group Pro-Mosel requested access to the new calculations under the Freedom of Information Act from the Ministry in Mainz, but this request was denied. In a bizarre but probably standard ruse, “trade secrets” were cited as the reason for the denial. Pro-Mosel raised a formal challenge to this decision and suggested that any trade secrets be redacted from the document. Also requested were the results of requisite additional calculations concerning statics (due to questions raised about the weight-bearing capability of the design and the stability of massive construction upon a landslip area) which must be carried out by a dedicated safety analyst. So far there has been no answer to these questions from the Ministry within the time frame set by law, which means that the only way left to proceed with the Pro-Mosel enquiry is through legal intervention.

It appears highly likely that the questions of stability and other construction problems are as yet unresolved, and the conspicuous building works are simply a smokescreen designed to assure a nervous public that all is proceeding as planned. In fact the current work is limited to the smallest pier at an unproblematic site above the village of Zeltingen. When it comes to raising the giant piers at the river and any construction on the Ürzig slope (known to be problematic for building upon since the 1970s), the difficulties encountered so far will require drastic solutions – leading to an inevitable escalation of costs. Given both the current financial situation in Europe and the Rheinland Pfalz government’s proven inability to protect the public purse, Pro-Mosel strongly questions whether the German Federal Government will be willing to meet any future demand to supply extra funds.

The unceasing recklessness of the Rheinland Pfalz state government with taxpayers’ money over major construction projects (witness also the Nürburgring F1 racetrack fiasco) will inevitably be forced to come crashing to an abrupt end. Pro-Mosel continues to act in the hope that this will happen sooner rather than later, while there is still a last-gasp chance to preserve the valuable cultural wine landscape of the Middle Mosel for future generations to enjoy. The recent departure of Prime Minister Kurt Beck from office may allow a welcome change of heart in Mainz over the High Mosel Bridge.


3 thoughts on “News of the Mosel bridge construction and the continuing efforts to stop it

  1. Anonymous

    A new year brings new things. Little motions behind the scenes which were not possible in the past. The signs are that it is still worth hanging in there, just in case the project manages to stall itself. There will certainly be more to report as the year progresses, but for now it is unclear which efforts will be of use. Tell the world to keep rooting for us!

  2. wineops

    Frankly, I have been visited the place in April 2012 and in May 2013… the changes are minimal… they have really lost a full year. And I must say that I am pretty happy about that !


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