Berlin threatens state over Dresden bridge

4th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 December 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany's government threatened on Tuesday to claw back federal subsidies from a state which is building a highway bridge near the city of Dresden in defiance of a UNESCO warning. The Waldschloesschen Bridge, to cross the meadows 4 kilometres east of the town centre of Dresden, has divided Germans, with conservationists saying it will spoil a postcard-perfect view towards the jewel-like eastern city. The Transport Ministry said legal counsel had been asked to review next yea

4 December 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's government threatened on Tuesday to claw back federal subsidies from a state which is building a highway bridge near the city of Dresden in defiance of a UNESCO warning.

The Waldschloesschen Bridge, to cross the meadows 4 kilometres east of the town centre of Dresden, has divided Germans, with conservationists saying it will spoil a postcard-perfect view towards the jewel-like eastern city.

The Transport Ministry said legal counsel had been asked to review next year whether the project, which began two weeks ago with site clearance, conformed with German international undertakings.

The state of Saxony insists on the steel-arch bridge to end lengthy traffic detours in the city, which is growing along both banks of the Elbe river. In a 2005 referendum, city residents voted strongly in favour.

UNESCO, which recognizes a park-like 20-kilometre section of the valley as a World Heritage Site because of its gardens and palaces, has threatened to delist the whole site if the bridge is not made less intrusive.

A Berlin spokeswoman said a legal review was "normal" after federal subsidies had been paid.

Although courts have ruled that a UNESCO treaty cannot prevent the project, a report by federal counsel maintained that Saxony is bound by Germany's treaty undertakings, she said.

The Saxon government said it has not seen the legal report. Berlin has provided nearly 100 million euros (147 million dollars) from federal roads funds for the 160-million-euro link.

Saxony says it chose a slim bridge outline and UNESCO has not explained how the four-lane bridge could be made any less intrusive.

DPA

Subject: German news

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