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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Mosel bridge deemed ‘unstable’

8th January, 2014 by Rupert Millar

The controversial bridge being built over some of the most famous vineyards in Germany may be structurally unstable says a leaked report.

mosel bridge

The Mosel bridge as planners envision it

A local government document recently obtained by journalists from the German magazine Der Spiegel apparently says that planners failed to properly investigate “slip surfaces” which are deeper than originally thought.

Loose boulders and shingle go as deep as 70 metres on parts of the bank and yet, the document is said to report, builders will only sink foundations to 47m leaving the 525 foot high bridge dangerously unstable.

The four lane, mile long Hochmoselübergang is one of the biggest and most expensive construction projects currently underway and is designed to link Frankfurt with the Netherlands.

The plans have been controversial ever since they surfaced 30 years ago and in more recent times as it became more likely that the project would go ahead, local producers, wine trade figures and conservationists have mounted a campaign to stop it.

Not only will the bridge spoil the valley, which is a Unesco World heritage Site, but it is feared it will have a detrimental effect on the vineyards of Ürzig and Rachtig and their famous vineyards – the former being particularly prized – due to soil erosion and increased pollution.

The battle seemed lost in 2012 when work on the bridge began – after an unexplained year long hiatus which campaigners say was due to design issues – but the saga has now taken a new twist.

Sarah Washington, a British artist who lives in the valley and heads Pro-Mosel, a campaign group opposing the bridge, said: “There is information stretching right back to the 1950s which suggests that the Ürzig slope may be too problematic to build upon.”

The State Office for Geology said in the leaked document that it did not think the slip surfaces were a problem but “an increased investigative effort is indispensable.”

The new survey is expected to take three months.

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