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Global Economy

Test run for Transport Minister Wissing

Big bridge, big task for Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing from the FDP: "I want the demolition to take place this year. That's ambitious, but we think it's affordable," he says. Wissing knows that with German bridges he moves on shaky ground.

But one of the key promises made by the new government is to implement large construction projects more quickly. Wissing wants to prove that this is possible with the construction of the important motorway bridge through the Rahmedetal in Sauerland. Personally, he wants to set the pace. "It's a matter for the boss," says the transport minister.

Don't promise too much

Wissing made it clear that the old dilapidated bridge was to be blown up this year. But the new one, wider, with more tracks – will it be there in five years? "You know, a transport minister should always be careful when naming certain dates," says Wissing.

Act energetically, but don't promise too much either: the bridging question is the first tightrope act for the new Minister of Transport. "A project like this can be a huge success, set an example. But of course it can also fail," says Wissing. Because there are enough problems.

An idea from Italy

In order to avoid at least one of them early on, Wissing has now appointed an Ombudsman for the bridge on the A45. The mayor of nearby Lüdenscheid, Sebastian Wagemeyer, should help to prevent a crash between citizens and politicians.

"A lot is happening at the same time on so many levels," says Wagemeyer. "There are friction losses. And there are also different interests and wishes. It is now important to build bridges intensively."

The idea of a special representative comes from Italy. After the great bridge collapse in Genoa, the mayor there was appointed commissioner for the new building. In two years the new bridge was ready. NRW Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart from the FDP sees the position of special representative as a success factor.

60 bridges of the A45 have to be renewed

It is clear that it will take several years before the new bridge over the Rahmedetal is in place. The federal government wants to take action itself, use its own money and build noise protection walls so that residents on the bypass roads don't lose their ears in the meantime when the trucks roll past them. If necessary, laws should also be changed for this purpose.

The bridge in Sauerland is a test run for Wissing. On the A45 alone, all 60 viaducts will have to be renewed in the long term. There are many more bridges in Germany. The minister has bad news. "The experiences I've had with it in such a short time have made alarm bells ring for me," he says.

Procedures should be accelerated

In December, the Rahmede Viaduct was closed from now on. Since then, the busy autobahn from Dortmund to Hesse and Bavaria has been interrupted. Wissing would now like to take a shortcut for the new bridge, i.e. not a complete planning approval procedure again, with the possibility of objections and plenty of room for delay.

The point is also checked now. By the summer, Wissing announced, the entire federal government intends to present a law to speed up procedures – whether it's about new motorway bridges or new wind turbines. Big tasks.

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