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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
6 Jan 2014

Exciting news for us objectors to the planned bridge over the Mosel between Zeltingen-Rachtig and Ürzig is that there has suddenly been an eruption of doubt in a wide variety of German media about the safety of the whole project. Just before Christmas, apparently alerted by a leak, the important German weekly magazine Der Spiegel raised the question of whether sufficient geological research had been conducted into this €130 million project, the largest bridge construction site in Europe. Then last weekend the local paper of the Mosel valley, the Trierischer Volksfreund, previously a supporter of the bridge, published no fewer than three articles expressing concerns about the project.

Crucial to the now much-discussed story seems to be Harald Ehses, the director of the state office for geology and mining, who is no longer toeing the official line and is quoted as saying about the site of the pillar designed to support the bridge on the Ürzig side of the river, 'more than a decade ago we pointed out that this slope is unsuitable'. Apparently the foundations of the pillar are designed to go down to a depth of 47 metres, but the bedrock begins at a depth of 70 metres. Above it is an unstable mix of small rocks and boulders. Ehses is calling for a much more detailed study of the site. The authorities have responded by saying they reckon they can come up with one in three months, which many think may be unduly hasty and are worried that the result may officially be a foregone conclusion.

The Volksfreund's detailed account of the problems facing this controversial project is complemented by a vigorous editorial asking, 'Why did construction start before these questions were answered? It's completely incomprehensible, absolutely thoughtless. That the government is trying to keep this information from becoming public [see our Mosel Bridge update at the beginning of December] says everything.'

German-speakers can read those three Volksfreund articles in full at;art671,3748185;art158795,3748426;art742,3748601

The computer-generated image of the proposed motorway and bridge, above and below, is the work of Philipp Pertermann with Georg Laska.