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Absurdity and self destruction

May 29, 2011

I’ve been waiting in the hope of a last chance but it now looks like chances are no longer there. The latest I read about this is that the new Mosel bridge or Neu Hochmoselbrücke project had its final sign off.  Hopes had arisen when in March the Green Party took power from Angela Merker’s CDU in Baden-Württemberg and obtained nearly 15% of the votes in Rhineland-Pfalz. Here, where the bridge is planned, the Green Party had to enter into a coalition with the still ruling Social Democrats (SPD) in favour of the bridge. At some point at the end of April it was looking like the Green Party where standing up (or at least pretending) to their old proposals and intentions for a stop to the project requiring a revision of the traffic forecast and cost estimation. Coalition talks have ended in the first week of the current month with the Green Party ceding to SPD’s leader Kurt Beck and resulting in the project’s final go ahead by the coalition.

Discussion of the project began in 1968 with the bridge thought out as a way to shorten connections between US military bases back then. The plans went through plenty of revisions, impact analyses and opponents’ protests in the last few decades.

This is a complete nonsense project from all points of view that is utterly appalling. I am not just saying this but I truly have a deep feeling of emptiness overwhelms me every time I come across one of the many projected pictures as the one above.  Nature has gifted this region with unimaginable, breath-taking beauty and we are now willing to destroy this magnificent landscape forever. This mad and above all unnecessary concrete monster will be 158m high (high enough to contain Rome’s St. Peter’s Chapel) and 1.7km long (Germany’s biggest bridge) cutting through the world’s best Riesling producing slatey slopes. Among the directly affected vineyards will be Ürziger Würzgarten, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and all the vineyards of Graach and Bernkastel out of which I (and maybe you) have been enjoying astonishing world class Riesling. Construction of the bridge is supposed to end in 2016(!) and cost EUR330m. This is apparently a very conservative cost estimation as rumors have it this could easily be in the region of bln of Euros. Not only the aesthetics of the ever curving world’s longest vineyard-patched river stretch will be completely ruined but the vineyards themselves and the resulting wines will be detrimentally impacted. The vines will be affected by the shadow from the bridge and the elimination of the water reservoir contained by the to-be-destroyed forest on the hilltop will drastically change the water balance. All this in addition to the 5+ year long on going disruption caused by the construction works.

This is to me one of the hardest-to-swallow example of the self-destructive attitude mankind is imposing on itself and that we have been experiencing many times before. Well, this is a time too many! Whoever has been in that part of the world cannot think in any other way. This is especially more serious as there is no objective justification. No benefit would derive from tourism (if anything this would be badly affected), no real gain in time or speed will be achieved and this world cultural heritage will be deeply humiliated by tons of concrete. What is seriously striking is also that rather than promoting and pushing for acceptance as genuine cultural heritage by UNESCO (for some mysterious reason this has not happened yet) Germany is promoting its disfigurement. The Greens, who are now one of country’s ruling parties, were looking like the biggest opposer up until a month ago. This is an extract of what I read on their website in a document dating Sep. 9th 2010: “We call on the state and the federal government to immediately stop the building of the planned B50neu and stop the enormous waste of taxpayers’ money” . Everybody is free to change their mind but I would think this was quite a fundamental topic and should have left little room for compromise. Compromise it was. As simplistic as my view can appear I believe there is not much more to it and that this all ended up in one more pure buy/sell agreement. At the end of the day, better to rule than stick to your principles! Who will remember who did what in 5 years anyway.

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