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Dresden's ‘Blue Wonder' bridge dilapidated

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Dresden's ‘Blue Wonder' bridge dilapidated
Photo: DPA
11:35 CEST+02:00
One of the Saxon capital's landmark bridges over the Elbe, the 116-year-old Blue Wonder, suffers from major rust and water damage and needs urgent repair, Dresden city officials said this weekend.

The city, which recently lost its Unesco World Heritage status over its decision to build a new bridge spanning the Elbe, has until 2025 to fix the bridge before it can no longer carry any traffic, said city construction manager Jörn Marx in an interview with the Sächsische Zeitung newspaper.

An engineering marvel when it was built in 1893, the bridge received its name because of its distinctive blue colour. It has already closed to truck traffic for years because of structural concerns and the 35,000 cars that cross the bridge daily are limited to driving 30 kilometres an hour.

“We are especially mindful of the Blue Wonder. No other bridge is so intensively looked after to secure its use,” said Reinhard Koettnitz, the director of Dresden's bridge and tunnel office.

The bridge has played an important role in Dresden's history. In 1945, with the city in ruins from a massive Allied bombing raid, the bridge was one of the few structures that survived and gave locals a way across the river. The German army planned to demolish the bridge to keep it out of the hands of approaching Red Army but was thwarted by local citizens.

Max said the city was considering four options for the Blue Wonder, including a complete renovation, a demolition followed by complete reconstruction, a second auto bridge or a tunnel underneath the river. All of the options will cost at least €20 million.

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