Tunnel could save Dresden’s UNESCO status

Last year UNESCO threatened to take Dresden's World Heritage Site distinction if the German city built a bridge over the River Elbe. Now the organization has offered an alternative solution.

Tunnel could save Dresden’s UNESCO status

UNESCO has recommended that the German city of Dresden build a tunnel, rather than a bridge, if it wants to keep its World Heritage Site status.

“The identification of an alternative to the bridge is a valuable opportunity to preserve the Elbe River valley,” said UNESCO committee chair, Christina Cameron, on Friday in Paris.

In 2007, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) decided to remove Dresden from its World Heritage Site list if the city decided to build a bridge over the Elbe River.

An international team of UNESCO experts assessed the situation in Dresden before concluding that a tunnel could also be an option for the city, which hopes to ease traffic congestion by creating a new route over the river.

A tunnel would be less invasive to the scenery, according to a statement for German officials and the 21 members of the committee for world heritage sites.

“I am confident that constructive consultations that allow Dresden to maintain its cultural landscape of the River Elbe valley will follow,” said UNESCO General Director Koichiro Matsuura after the recommendations were announced on Friday.

The committee plans to renew its discussion of the River Elbe crossing during its next session in Quebec this July.