Middle Rhine Bridge

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Photo montage by an architecture student who presented a study on the Middle Rhine Bridge in 2007

Mittelrheinbrücke is the project name for a planned Rhine crossing between St. Goar and St. Goarshausen . The planning has been around for several decades, but it has been postponed or discussed again and again. Since the bridge is in the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley near the Loreley , the planning of such a crossing is controversial. Conservationists and monument conservationists oppose it, the local economy is in favor of building bridges. Template: future / in 5 years


The Sankt Goarshausen district of Wellmich with Maus Castle

The Middle Rhine is not crossed by bridges or tunnels on a stretch of around 80 river kilometers between Koblenz and Wiesbaden . Road traffic in this section depends on six ferry connections. Residents on the east side of the Rhine Valley who want to reach the A 61 or Frankfurt-Hahn Airport are therefore bound by the ferry schedule or have to take long detours.

To remedy this situation, there are different plans for a fixed Rhine crossing. The construction of a bridge between Sankt Goarshausen-Wellmich and Sankt Goar-Fellen is currently favored. This bridge would connect the B 9 , which runs along the left bank of the Rhine, with the B 42 , which runs along the opposite bank of the Rhine. One prognosis estimates that around 7,500 vehicles would use this Rhine crossing every day. The B 274 , which leads to the Taunus and thus also establishes a connection to the A 3, begins in the core town of Sankt Goarshausen . On the opposite side of the Rhine in the Sankt Goar area there is no major road that connects the Middle Rhine Valley with the Hunsrück and thus with the A 61 and Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. In Sankt Goar itself there is only the L 206 with the name Gründelbach, which leads to the Hunsrück, but is unsuitable for heavy traffic . How the additional traffic on the left bank of the Rhine should be routed has not yet been clarified.

The cost of building the bridge is estimated at around 40 million euros. However, this does not take into account the costs of optimizing transport links and expanding the cycle paths. For an alternative tunnel construction, a sum of between 70 and 80 million euros is estimated, which also seems far too low, as the connection is much more complex and cost-intensive. Most of the costs would be borne by the federal government and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate . It has not yet been clarified who will be responsible for the maintenance of the bridge after construction. Normally, the Rhein-Lahn district and the Rhein-Hunsrück district would have to share responsibility. However, some district parliamentary groups argue that the bridge must be marked as a federal road and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government, as it will directly connect two federal roads.

Planning process

The planning of a Rhine bridge in the Middle Rhine Valley has been going on for several decades. However, this was repeatedly postponed. Since the Middle Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site , there is a fear that this status will be lost if a bridge is built, as happened in the Dresden Elbe Valley . In order to prevent the loss of the world heritage status, the Rhineland-Palatinate state government works with UNESCO. In July 2008 at its meeting in Canada , UNESCO called for an environmental impact assessment for the possible variants and a more recent traffic study.

In October 2008, a Europe-wide competition to plan the Middle Rhine Bridge was announced. Twelve working groups made up of architects, engineers and landscape planners had until mid-April 2009 to develop drafts. The location of the bridge is to be north of St. Goar / St. Be Goarshausen. In addition to members of the state government, architects and engineers, the jury also included a representative from UNESCO. World heritage compatibility was one of the most important design criteria. The winner was a planning consortium from Dublin , consisting of the architectural office Heneghan Peng Architects , the engineering office Arup Consulting Engineers and the landscape architects Mitchel and Associates . In the winning design, the Rhine bridge has a slightly S-shaped floor plan.

It was not until 2010 that the state government submitted sufficient expertises to UNESCO, which it had already requested in 2008. Until then, they could not vote on the winning design. On July 29, 2010, UNESCO announced in Brasília that the construction of a bridge could be pursued. The state government interprets the announcement of the World Heritage Committee as approval for the winning design. The three scientific associations German Society for Prehistory and Early History (DGUF), Non-Governmental Organizations for the European Landscape Convention (CIVILSCAPE) and Society for the Assessment of Environmental Impact (UVP Society) do not share the state government's view: “With the resolution 34 COM 7B.87 on the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Site, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee does not approve the construction of a bridge between St. Goarshausen-Wellmich and St. Goar-Fellen. A World Heritage compatibility of this planning is not declared. ” In January 2011, the district committees of the affected districts decided to initiate the spatial planning procedure and to carry out a public survey together with the state government. The state should provide € 150,000 for this and the two districts would each add € 5,000.

After the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in March 2011 , it was negotiated in the coalition agreement between the SPD and the Greens that the plans to build the Middle Rhine Bridge would not be pursued. Instead, an expanded ferry service should be tested by 2016. On April 1, 2012, the operating times of the Loreley ferry , which commutes between St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, especially in the evening hours, were extended. As a result, the ferry operates more than 1000 hours more annually, which is subsidized by the country. Other ferries between Koblenz and Mainz / Wiesbaden were not included in the funding.

After the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate in March 2016 , a coalition of the SPD, FDP and the Greens was formed. Your three parliamentary groups agreed to resume planning the Middle Rhine Bridge. The question of whether the planning, construction and maintenance of the bridge is the responsibility of the state or, as Transport Minister Volker Wissing believes, the task of the two districts on the Upper Middle Rhine, i.e. the Rhein-Lahn district and the Rhein-Hunsrück district, was raised in July 2017 brought before the administrative court in Koblenz . The administrative court ruled on February 1, 2018 that the planning of the Middle Rhine Bridge was the responsibility of the districts.


State government

The former Rhineland-Palatinate State Secretary for Culture Joachim Hofmann-Göttig ( SPD ) saw a majority in the population in favor of building a bridge. According to surveys, 42% of those questioned were against bridge building and 58% were in favor of bridge building. These figures were released at a meeting on August 17, 2008.

In the coalition between the SPD and the Greens that ruled until 2016, there were disputes because, according to parliamentary group leader Hendrik Hering , the SPD continues to support the construction of the bridge, while the Greens, according to their party leader Britta Steck, reject the project. According to the economics minister Eveline Lemke, it is still unclear what will happen after 2016.

Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation

Representatives of the BUND and Professor Michael Petzet , an advisor to UNESCO, favor the expansion of the ferry connections over the Rhine instead of a crossing (whether bridge or tunnel). All ferries on the Middle Rhine should be sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany and the crossing (possibly free of charge) should be possible around the clock. Petzet argues that a Rhine crossing - in whatever form - is hardly justifiable for economic reasons.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry sees the Middle Rhine Bridge as the key to securing and developing economic power in the World Heritage Valley. The bridge would make the living and working environment in the valley more attractive. In particular, the bridge would counteract the decline in the number of inhabitants in the Rhein-Lahn and Rhein-Hunsrück districts.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. a b c RP Online: Loreley: Dispute about bridge construction  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ), accessed on October 9, 2010.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.rp-online.de
  2. a b WZ Newsline: Loreley World Heritage in Danger , accessed on October 9, 2010.
  3. www.loreleyinfo.de: Costs of the Middle Rhine Bridge , accessed on March 13, 2011.
  4. In the FAZ (online edition) of July 7th it says “at least 70 million euros”, in the aforementioned online edition of the RP “80 million euros”.
  5. a b www.rhein-zeitung.de from February 1, 2011: Rheinbrücke: Citizens should be involved , accessed on February 23, 2011.
  6. www.faz.net: Trembling before Unesco: The Middle Rhine Valley does not want to experience its Dresden , accessed on February 23, 2011.
  7. Announcement of the architectural competition on “Competitionline”: Planning of the Middle Rhine Bridge ( Memento from April 20, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on December 30, 2010.
  8. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: state government must put cards on the table ) Retrieved on April 19@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.xn--mehr-hunsrck-mlb.de
  9. World Heritage Committee gives the green light for the Middle Rhine Bridge ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved from sz-online.de on May 22, 2013
  10. ( Page no longer available , search in web archives: Rheinquerung Beck / Hering: World Heritage Committee clears the way for the Middle Rhine Bridge ) Press release of the Ministry of Economics, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture RLP of July 29, 2010@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.mwvlw.rlp.de
  11. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: UNESCO advocates bridge in the Middle Rhine Valley ) swr.de from July 29, 2010@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / nochern.de
  12. UNESCO does not approve the construction of a bridge over the Middle Rhine (PDF; 203 kB) Scientific associations on October 28, 2010 in Boppard
  13. ( page no longer available , search in web archives: Beck: model project for citizen participation near Mittelrheinbrücke ), accessed on February 23, 2011.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.rlp.de
  14. ^ Coalition Agreement - Shaping the Socio-Ecological Change. ( Memento of January 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved May 6, 2011 (PDF; 966 kB)
  15. After saying no to the Middle Rhine Bridge, the state supports expanded ferry traffic. Rhein-Zeitung, accessed on October 14, 2012 .
  16. ^ Coalition agreement. (PDF) p. 49 , accessed on June 6, 2016 .
  17. Judges propose compromise. Article from January 23, 2018 on SWR Aktuell
  18. ^ Dispute in the Rhein-Hunsrück district: Middle Rhine bridge must be on the agenda. SWR, February 1, 2018, accessed on February 1, 2018 .
  19. ↑ The dispute over the Middle Rhine Bridge breaks out again. October 15, 2012, accessed May 23, 2013 .
  20. www.rhein-zeitung.de: Economy makes strong for Rheinbrücke , accessed on March 13, 2011.