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Mosel bridge protesters file criminal complaint

Campaigners opposed to the Mosel bridge project in Germany have filed a criminal complaint against the state-backed building plan, following more reports that experts believe it is unsafe.

Building has already begun at the bridge site in the heart of Germany’s Mosel wine region, but protesters – including local winemakers – still believe there is a chance the Mosel bridge will never be finished.

Campaign group Pro-Mosel said this week it filed a criminal complaint with the state prosecutor in the nearby city of Trier.

Its move could lead to a criminal investigation. But, Georg Laska, who filed the complaint on Pro-Mosel’s behalf, told Decanter.com that it adds to the public pressure on politicians in the short-term.

‘We don’t know what the outcome will be, but we had to make this complaint because nobody else seems concerned,’ he said. ‘We hope the building work will be stopped for safety reasons.’

Pro-Mosel’s complaint, which the group said was signed by winemakers and local citizens, comes after a further report in Der Spiegel magazine about the structural viability of the project.

It cited professor Rafig Azzam, a geology engineer, as saying that he was concerned the foundations could buckle under the weight of traffic. In particular, he was reported as saying more study is needed on potentially unstable ground on the slope near the town of Urzig.

‘Stability in that slope has not been proven,’ said Laska. ‘Several experts tell us that there has been too little examination.’

Sarah Washington, also of Pro-Mosel, added, ‘The government’s response to criticism from geological experts has been woefully inadequate.’

Earlier this year, Pro-Mosel was buoyed by a leaked expert study that also appeared to cast doubts on the bridge, which would stretch from Urzig to Rachtig, above the vineyards of Zeltingten to Bernkastel.

At the time, the local government said it had ordered a new hydrology report to assess the slopes’ ability to hold foundations.

A government spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment today (2 December).

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Written by Chris Mercer

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