News 2024

FIEC German members jointly call for bridge construction: cutting investment in the federal budget would be a fatal decision for German infrastructure

On 20 June 2024, the FIEC German federations launched a joint call to build bridges.

Here is a translation of the content of this inititive, which was published in German.

 

Joint emergency call for bridge construction:
Cutting investment in the federal budget would be a fatal decision for German infrastructure

 

A Press Release (in German language) jointly issued by BVMB, HDB, ZDB, VBI, Pro Mobilität, DVLV, Gütegemeinschaft Stahlschutzplanken, DAV, ADAC, BGL, DSLV and BWVL is available at this link.

 

Over 4,000 bridges on motorways in Germany are currently in urgent need of renovation or reconstruction. Against this backdrop, the Federal Transport Minister, Dr Volker Wissing (FDP), announced at the first national 'Bridge Summit' (held 2 years ago) that the federal government would carry out 400 bridge construction projects per year from 2026 at the latest in order to clear the renovation backlog within 10 years.

 

As this promise is unlikely to be honoured, several leading associations have now made a joint emergency appeal to the federal government. The Bundesvereinigung Mittelständischer Bauunternehmen e.V. (BVMB), the Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie e.V. (HDB), the Zentralverband Deutsches Baugewerbe e.V. (ZDB), the Verband Beratender Ingenieure (VBI), Pro Mobilität - Initiative für Verkehrsinfrastruktur e.V., DVLV - Deutscher Verband für Lärmschutz an Verkehrswegen e.V., Gütegemeinschaft Stahlschutzplanken e.V. and Deutscher Asphaltverband (DAV) e.V. criticise: "We are a long way from the 400 bridges per year. In addition, an increasing number of tenders have been cancelled in recent weeks due to a lack of funds and the construction programme of Autobahn GmbH is being stretched overall. On top of this, it has been announced that the budget of Autobahn GmbH is to be cut by 20 per cent from 6.2 billion euros to 4.9 billion euros. This negligent investment policy will lead to further bridges being closed and the road network falling into further disrepair."

 

The umbrella organisations are therefore urgently warning against cutting funding for motorway construction.

On the other hand, additional investment funds of one billion per year would have to be made available in order to get the bridge modernisation programme up and running at all and to secure the modernisation of the federal trunk roads.

The Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club e.V. (ADAC), the Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik und Entsorgung (BGL) e.V., the DSLV Bundesverband Spedition und Logistik e.V. and the BWVL BUNDESVERBAND FÜR EIGENLOGISTIK & VERLADER e.V. also join the appeal, as even the failure of a single motorway bridge has serious consequences for traffic, residents and the economy along the alternative routes. The closures of the Rahmede viaduct (A45) and the Salzbach viaduct between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden have clearly demonstrated this. If the federal government does not provide sufficient funding for federal trunk road construction in the current transport budget and medium-term financial planning, this would have fatal consequences - a traffic collapse is to be feared.

 

"A functioning and reliable motorway network is an indispensable basis for people's mobility and a functioning economy. After all, roads are the number one mode of transport, and as a European transit country, Germany also has a responsibility for mobility throughout Europe," emphasise BVMB, HDB, ZDB, VBI, Pro Mobilität, DVLV, Gütegemeinschaft Stahlschutzplanken, DAV, ADAC, BGL, DSLV and BWVL. According to a current overview by the BMDV, more than 1,000 motorway bridge structures are in an "inadequate structural condition" and 80 structures are in an "inadequate structural condition". The load-bearing capacity and thus the functionality of a large number of bridges is severely impaired. If the bridge construction programme is not implemented - as announced by the federal government - the associations predict further bridge failures that would paralyse traffic for years. The traffic diversions around dilapidated or closed motorway bridges will cause traffic chaos in the communities along the alternative routes, burden residents and businesses in the regions and also put undue strain on the traffic routes in the municipalities.

 

The bridge construction programme is also important for the construction industry. "Companies have increased their capacities because they were confident that the orders announced by the federal government would materialise." Instead, construction companies are now on hold, resulting in considerable financial losses. Short-time working, including in bridge construction, can no longer be ruled out.

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