Stalled planning work for a proposed new bridge over the Rhine River near Karlsruhe in Germany can restart after environmental legal issues were settled.
Planning was halted nearly four years ago after a legal complaint was filed by the town of Philipsburg, population of around 14,000 and on the banks of the Rhine about 35km from Karlsruhe.
The proposed road bridge would connect Karlsruhe and Wörth and be built around 1.4km from another overused Rhine bridge, according to a report by the German news agency dpa-infocom, part of Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Earliest construction start would be 2027 for a finish anywhere between two to four years later. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate is responsible for construction and planning which would now, after all the legal issues have been settled, include bicycle and pedestrian lanes as well as improved environmental and conservation areas around the bridge.
One of the next steps in the planning process is to complete a study to determine the location for bridge piers.
Currrently, the parallel Maxau Rhine Bridges connect Karlsruhe, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, with Wörth in the Rhineland-Palatinate state. The road bridge was opened in 1966 and the rail bridge in 1991.
The 292m cable-stayed road bridge carries Federal highway 10. The bridge’s 48m-high pylon divides the bridge into two sections, one at 175m long and another at 117m. The steel bridge superstructure has a deck depth of 3m and a 35.3m-width. It accommodates two three-lane carriageways with footpaths and bicycle lanes on both sides. According to a 2005 survey, daily traffic was 78,500 vehicles and but has risen substantially since then, according to city officials.
The two-track railway bridge is only several metres south of the road bridge. When opened, it was only a single-track structure but in 2000 additional superstructure was completed to allow for a second track.
Karlsruhe, population around 315,000, is home to Germany's largest oil refinery and Karlsruhe University, Germany’s oldest technical university.
Wörth am Rhein, with a population around 18,000, has Daimler AG's biggest truck production plant – around 2.8km² - which has been operating in the town since 1960.