Cologne considered evacuation near metro

Cologne considered evacuation near metro
The archive accident site in Cologne. Photo: DPA
Nearly a year after a dramatic cave-in underneath Cologne’s historical archive left two people dead, the city’s authorities considered evacuating large parts of the centre along a new metro line.

News magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday that Cologne officials prepared evacuation plans for the Waidmarkt area last month due to safety concerns connected to the construction of a tunnel for the U-Bahn. Only after further testing did they decided against emptying a large swath of the city.

Investigators into the March 3, 2009 collapse of the archive building now believe builders might have cut corners on the supporting walls of the metro tunnel not only near the construction site near Waidmarkt, but also near the Rathaus and Heumarkt stations.

A construction worker on the metro line admitted earlier this week that his foreman intentionally used fewer steel reinforcements at the site of the accident. The unused metal allegedly went to scrap dealers, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported.

The archive’s collapse killed two men in a neighbouring building and destroyed large amounts of precious historic documents.

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