The deeply-unpopular Mosel Bridge project will go ahead despite hopes that a resurgent Green Party would vote it down.
An artist’s impression of the Hochmoseluebergang
In March, the Green party took power from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in Baden-Württemberg, one of Germany’s richest states, and won 15.4% of the vote in Rhineland-Pfalz, where the bridge project is located.
This has resulted in the Green party forming coalitions with the Social Democrats (SPD) in both states.
In the former the Greens have a majority, and in Rhineland-Pfalz they have representation in the state parliament where SPD State premier Kurt Beck retains power.
This led Pro-Mosel, the highly-vocal group united in opposition to the bridge, to hope the Greens would use their influence to halt the project.
At the time Sarah Washington, spokeswoman for Pro-Mosel, said the federal transport ministry might find it politically expedient to drop the project.
But on Monday night the Greens ceded to their new coalition partners and approved the bridge project.
Washington said Greens feared that Beck would go into coalition with the CDU if they challenged him.
Pro-Mosel said they were shocked by the outcome of the state coalition talks, after the Greens had made opposition to the bridge one of their campaign promises.
An embittered Sarah Washington wrote in her blog, ‘not enough Green voters in Rhineland-Pfalz … care about the bridge…In a federal system, each state can afford to ignore the outside world. There is no thought of what is best for Germany, of how to guide her future.’
The Hochmoseluebergang (Upper Mosel Crossing), whose centrepiece is a 1.7km, 10-column bridge 158m tall, was first mooted in 1968, as a link between US bases in the region during the Cold War.
Its route will cut through what Hugh Johnson called ‘the finest Riesling vineyards on the planet – the slatey slopes of Wehlen, Graach, Urzig and Zeltingen…This mad, destructive, unnecessary road is on course to pollute the most famous, most beautiful and historic stretch of one of Europe’s loveliest rivers, forever. ‘
Work started two years ago but was held up by successive legal challenges and opposition lobbying. It is now expected to be completed by 2016.
Written by Adam Lechmere