Plans for the controversial Mosel bridge that would carry traffic through Germany's Riesling vineyards don't meet European Union building standards, according to an independent expert.

An artist’s impression of the Mosel bridge

Professor Rafig Azzam, a geology engineer at Aachen University, warned that building work on the Mosel bridge needs to stop until the foundations on the banks of the Mosel river are proved safe.

‘I have just reviewed the safety concept applied to the bridge and discovered that it does not comply with the Euro Code 7,’ professor Azzam told Decanter.com.

His recent criticism of the bridge has been welcomed by protest group Pro-Mosel, which claims to include local winemakers and has campaigned to have the building project scrapped.

The Euro Codes are a set of 10 building regulations introduced by the European Commission. Building work must either comply with the rules or have ‘technical equivalence’ to them. Euro Code 7 governs the stability of foundations, or ‘geotechnical design’.

Professor Azzam said he explained his concerns about the Mosel bridge in a recent meeting with local authorities.
‘Since the slope in which the pillars are to be [placed] is creeping, and no adequate safety concept is applied, I told them that this approach is unacceptable,’ he said.

Officials said in December that safety concerns were unfounded. ‘From all of the studies and expertise available to us, there is no doubt that the Mosel bridge will be built safely,’ said the infrastructure ministry for Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate.

Pro-Mosel has lodged a criminal complaint against authorities, in light of professor Azzam’s concerns.

Written by Chris Mercer