Der Spiegel is today reporting that there are serious risks in the
construction of the High Mosel Bridge. Here is a translated summary of
the initial SPIEGEL report by Sarah Washington:
According to information received by SPIEGEL, experts for the
government of Rheinland Pfalz say the building of the bridge is
significantly more risky than previously acknowledged.
According to internal documents from the Green Economy Ministry of
Eveline Lemke, the state agency for geology warns of “significant
structural and financial risks” in the creation of pillars up to 150m
high on the west side of the Mosel valley.
The experts point to geological “slip surfaces” on the slope ranging
up to 70 meters in depth, which are “not reliably explored”. The
“geological risk” is assessed as “very high”.
The 130 million euro project is currently the largest bridge
construction site in Europe. The road bridge is to better connect Hahn
Airport in the Hunsrück Eifel region.
Residents and winemakers have been protesting for years in vain,
however the Social Democratic Ministry for Internal Affairs and
Infrastructure claimed that it could “not comprehend” the criticism.
The stability of the bridge could be ensured by “engineering
My reaction (feel free to quote Sarah Washington):
This confirms what we have feared all along – that
we will be left with half a bridge. There is information stretching
right back to the 1950s which suggests that the Ürzig slope may be too
problematic to build upon. As the government would not provide any
information, an independent geologist was engaged in 2011 who
confirmed the likelihood of significant problems. The campaign group
Pro-Mosel recently took the local government to court to try to find
out under the Freedom of Information Act what the problem is with the
static calculations for the bridge, which have seemingly already
caused a one-year delay. The court ruled that the government could
remain silent by invoking the protection of ‘trade secrets’ of the
building companies. It seems that protesters were right to be
suspicious of the lack of transparency, and that the government is
withholding vital public information for the sole reason that it is
embarrassingly damaging for them. Our current Ministers appear to be
content to wait this problem out in the hope that it will become
someone else’s future responsibility. It is time to stop the charade
and protect the taxpayer and the vineyards from further abuse.