• Germany's news in English

Cologne officials knew archive was sinking weeks ago

The Local · 21 Mar 2009, 10:12

Published: 21 Mar 2009 10:12 GMT+01:00

An underground ‘hydraulic ground break’, allowing water to flood into the foundations, occurred last September, according to a report in the city’s daily newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger on Saturday.

Those investigating how the building packed with unique cultural treasures collapsed, killing two people, heard on Friday night that the ground underneath the building had started letting water into the foundations last September – and the building was shown to be subsiding in February.

Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma reacted to the report on Saturday saying he was ordering an investigation to find all those who knew something about it but did alert the proper authorities.

When the decision to build the four-kilometre north-south metro line was made in 2002, around 3,000 measurements were taken along the route before work began so that engineers could make regular comparisons to monitor the effects of the excavation.

On February 3, the paper said that a city official realised that despite repeated requests, the company contracted to take these comparison measurements on the archive had not delivered them.

Two days later he took some measurements himself. The day before he did so, the contractor took measurements too – enabling engineers to see that in the 24 hours between the two checks, the building had sunk by seven millimetres.

It turned out that the front side of the building had subsided by a total of 20 millimetres since the start of the digging work, while the back of the building had sunk by 17 millimetres.

This data was available to those working on the project from February 3, the paper said, and were included in the minutes of site meetings later in February and in early March.

Story continues below…

A meeting in February involving all those concerned with building and monitoring the metro tunnel, heard that a lot of water had flooded through the holding wall into the foundations the previous September, but that no further erosion had taken place. A delay of at least a month on building work was to be expected.

This information has been known to Bernd Streitberger, head of the city’s building department, since March 12, the paper said, adding that this opens questions of how long information was known by other key players in the construction, and how long they have withheld this from the public.

Some calls have already been made for those in charge to resign their posts.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd