Water Bridge (S455)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on 10/5/2005
In what's being hailed as an engineering
masterpiece, two important German shipping canals have been joined by a
giant kilometer-long concrete bathtub. The new waterway near the eastern
town of Magdeburg opens Friday.
Public infrastructure projects are
notorious for taking longer than expected, but Germany's new water bridge
tying the Elbe-Havel canal to the important Mittelland canal, which leads
to the country's industrial Ruhr Valley heartland, was over 80 years in
Engineers first dreamt of joining the
two waterways as far back as 1919. Construction to bridge the Elbe river
near Magdeburg actually started in the 1930s, but progress was halted during
the Second World War in 1942. After the Cold War split Germany the project
was shelved indefinitely, but things were put back on track following reunification
||Taking six years to build
and costing around half a billion euros, the massive undertaking will connect
Berlin's inland harbor with the ports along the Rhine river. At the center
of the project is Europe's longest water bridge measuring in just shy of
a kilometer at 918 meters. The huge tub to transport ships over the Elbe
took 24,000 metric tons of steel and 68,000 cubic meters of concrete to
The water bridge will enable river
barges to avoid a lengthy and sometimes unreliable passage along the Elbe.
Shipping can often come to a halt on the stretch if the river's water mark
falls to unacceptably low levels.
"It's important to us to make the waterways
attractive to industry as a safe and environmentally friendly transportation
way," German Transportation Minister Manfred Stolpe said at the opening
ceremony on Friday, according to the Associated Press.