“The state needs to look up construction companies on the fingers”

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The disaster of Genoa raises questions about the state of the bridges in Germany. There is an Investment backlog, the mountains are risks, warns the Green traffic expert Stephan Kühn.


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  • Stefan Kaminski / Buendnis 90 The Green in Bundestag

    Stephan Kühn, born in 1979 in Dresden, Germany, is since 2009 member of the German Bundestag and transport policy spokesman of the Alliance 90/The Greens. On his website he advertises for a fundamental shift in Traffic.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Kühn, Germany’s bridges safe?

Stephan Kühn: There are annual visual inspections and further periodic investigations by the competent authorities. This will be very fully documented. The rules laid down are, per se, in order.

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“Appalling Tragedy”

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Many of the bridges are considered to be chronically overloaded, especially from truck traffic. What are the consequences?

Bold: most of the buildings, particularly in the West of Germany dates back to the Sixties and seventies. At the time, the planners have not expected this amount of heavy traffic. The effort to renovate it in the coming years, or replace it, is immense. There is a lack of qualified personnel for rehabilitation and construction projects.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: It was for years reduced its workforce, what can this bottleneck?

Bold: especially cities and municipalities are likely to be more bridges, locks and tonnage restrictions to introduce, if not quickly hired staff, and the money invested. The municipalities need financial support from the Federal government and the länder, in order to cope with the backlog of repairs.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Suffering from the safety of the refurbished and renewed bridges under the lack of staff?

Kühn: The construction industry because of the good economic situation to their limits. Therefore, the state needs to look at the construction companies on the fingers. The better the authorities are equipped with well-qualified staff, the lower the risk of construction defects.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is the construction industry at all sufficiently prepared for the mass, first-time renewal of the bridges?

Bold: In the case of certain technical constructions of the past, is it safe to Surprises, mostly negative. The construction in the Sixties and seventies, has not always proved sustainable. So something is in an in-depth review visible.

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