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73.5 m high: Senator Leonhard plans new Köhlbrand Bridge

Caption: © Wägener

The next round in the debate about the future of the Köhlbrand Bridge in the port of Hamburg: SPD leader and Senator for Economic Affairs Melanie Leonhard has presented new plans that envisage a significantly higher structure.

The Hanseatic city’s politicians were supposed to discuss the new plans for the Köhlbrand Bridge a few days ago. However, environmental senator Jens Kerstan from the Green Party still had objections[ds_preview].

Leonhard presented the plans on Easter Monday ahead of today’s deliberations in the Senate. A New bridge? Tunnel? Repair of the “old” bridge? The issue has been the subject of intense debate over the past few months. Pros and cons, costs, stability, shipping and logistics requirements, concerns about environmental protection – opinions differ widely in some cases.

New Köhlbrand Bridge to have a clearance height of 73.5 m

The head of the state SPD finally made the issue a matter for the boss and ordered further investigations. She justified the fact that it has now taken a little longer with the necessary care in the investigations.

The current plan—the final design is still to be put out to tender—envisages a new bridge with a clearance height of 73.5 meters. This is high enough for large container ships and also equipped for the planned energy activities in the port area. “After weighing up all the different crossing alternatives, the advantages of a bridge outweigh the disadvantages,” said Leonhard. She expects a unanimous decision in the Senate.

If the plan is implemented, the new Köhlbrand Bridge would be 20 m higher than the current structure and is expected to last up to 100 years. The total costs are between €4.4 and €5.3 billion – still around a quarter cheaper than a tunnel, argue the proponents. If all goes well, traffic could cross the bridge from 2040 if the construction period of around 10 years is adhered to.

Criticism was not long in coming. BUND and NABU called the new plans the worst of all possible solutions, partly because of the higher structure’s susceptibility to wind. The opposition CDU criticised the lack of clarity regarding the financing, while the Left Party still sees a need for discussion.

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