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Mosel bridge ‘bombshell’ heartens protesters

Campaigners fighting the controversial Mosel bridge project in one of Germany's premier wine regions have seized on a leaked expert study that warns the project could be structurally unsafe.

A photo mock-up of the proposed Mosel bridge

German mainstream media has descended on the Mosel this week following leaked information first published in Der Spiegel that reportedly showed a state geologist warning of unstable ground at the site of the proposed bridge’s foundations.

It’s a development that has delighted protesters, coming less than a month after a German court rejected their Freedom of Information request for the public release of building calculations, on the basis the information was commercially sensitive.

‘This is the biggest bombshell since campaigning began,’ Sarah Washington, of the Pro-Mosel protest group, told decanter.com.

‘Everything is pointing to the idea that this project is not going to work technically at some point.’ Pro-Mosel, which has previously counted on the support of several wine critics, including Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson, has repeatedly questioned the viability of the bridge in an area that it says is historically prone to landslides.

Building work on a bridge over the Mosel between Ürzig to Rachtig, above the vineyards of Zeltingten to Bernkastel, only began in 2012, but the project has inflamed debate since it was first proposed 30 years ago.

Following the leaked expert report, the German press has reported that there is no stable ground at one part of the site down to 70 metres, but contractors only planned to set the foundations 47 metres deep. The leaked study reportedly said there were boulders ‘swimming’ around underground, Washington added.

The government, which has consistently denied suggestions the bridge is unworkable, said that it has ordered a new hyrdology report. That is expected to take three months. A local government spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

‘There’ll be steam coming out of people’s ears at the moment,’ Washington said.

See more on the Mosel Bridge

Written by Chris Mercer

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