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Top expert has new doubts about the safety of the 160 meter high Mosel bridge

Melanie Wong | Dec 1, 201412:52 PM

Just received the following email from the Mosel:

On December the 1st a criminal complaint was filed at the office of the state prosecutor in the city of Trier. The complaint outlines the concerns of renowned German geology engineer Prof.. Rafig Azzam who deems it irresponsible to establish a traffic bridge of this magnitude on floating piles based on the present security status. The news magazine Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that Azzam considers the building of a bridge in this form at this site to be irresponsible and that a risk of danger to human life is not ruled out. It has been further reported that Azzam considers the influence of underground water has not been well enough studied on the unstable slope near Ürzig.

The complaint was signed by individual citizens and winemakers, concerned about the dangers should problems arise due to the perceived inadequate planning of the building project. After the debacle of the gagging of state geologist Prof. Harald Ehses by the government of Rheinland-Pfalz when he aired his own misgivings, Prof. Azzam is the latest in a long line of geology experts who consider that the necessary studies and calculations have not been thorough enough and therefore the planned design is too risky to be considered safe.

Georg Laska of the campaign group Pro-Mosel who submitted the complaint said: "A temporary halt to construction is in any case conceivable, as the problems are long known."

The bridge between Ürzig and Rachtig is the largest bridge construction project in Europe. It should cost 456 million euros and be ready in 2018, although the building schedule and projected costs have been upwardly revised several times already. If a new building method is needed to complete the project safely, costs could escalate much further which may jeopardise completion.

Sarah Washington
Ürzig, December 1st 2014

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