German officials are adamant that the controversial Mosel bridge will be built as planned, after protestors reported an unexpected pause in construction.
Work on the Mosel bridge, which would slice through one of Germany‘s most prestigious Riesling vineyard areas, has now been stopped for several weeks, according to protest group Pro-Mosel. Local media has reported structural problems at the site.
A bridge between Ürzig to Rachtig, above the vineyards of Zeltingten to Bernkastel, has inflamed debate since it was first proposed 30 years ago.
‘They’ve only fully planned the first pillar, the others are just laid out on a computer programme,’ said Pro-Mosel’s Sarah Washington, relaying reports from workers. Those workers still at the site can be seen ‘shovelling materials from one area to the next and back again’, she said.
‘It’s obvious they’ve completely messed it up,’ Washington told Decanter.com. She added the completion deadline has been put back by one year, to 2017, in documents held at a public information centre near the site.
However, government officials for the Rheinland-Pfalz region deny hitting any recent hitches. ‘There is no freeze,’ a ministry of infrastructure spokesperson told Decanter.com. ‘The issues discussed in relation to the structural analysis have brought no delay to the construction project planning,’ he added.
The bridge, he said, ‘has regional and national importance for the infrastructure and accessibility of the Eifel-Mosel-Hunsrück region’.
Washington accused the region’s Green Party of burying their opposition to the bridge in favour of a coalition government with the local Social Democrats, following elections earlier this year.
‘Winemakers are resigned to it, but it really hurts them,’ she said of the project. Still, she plans to fight on. The recent lull in building work ‘gives us breathing space’, she said.
Written by Chris Mercer