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The bridges of a meddlesome canton

DPA/The Local · 3 Sep 2010, 16:40

Published: 03 Sep 2010 16:40 GMT+02:00

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The restoration of a 90-metre long stone bridge over the Rhine River between two towns called Laufenburg – one in Germany and one in Switzerland – has lain half finished for the past two years.

The reason? Vexatiously litigious Swiss citizenry.

While the German Laufenburg simply got on with the job and repaved its side of the bridge, the Swiss Laufenburg has been locked in a two-year legal dispute because a resident complained the new cobblestones would damage the overall character of the town.

On Friday, the government in Switzerland’s Aargau Canton rejected the final appeal by the disgruntled resident, meaning the restoration can finally be finished.

The Laufenburg twins have an inauspicious track record when it comes to bridges.

Story continues below…

The towns hit the headlines in 2003 because of a bewildering blunder during construction of a new Rhine bridge. When the ends of the bridge joined in the middle, they were found to have a height difference of 54 centimetres – meaning it had to be lowered on the German side.

The problem arose because each side was using a different method of calculating the elevation above sea level: the Germans based their sums on the North Sea, not knowing that all along the Swiss were using the Mediterranean.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:55 September 3, 2010 by grunwaldaaron
Subeditor on this story: Great headline. :-)
06:20 September 4, 2010 by ColoSlim
Ask the Swiss Navy what sea level is.
14:59 September 4, 2010 by maxbrando
In owning the America's Cup, I believe the Swiss know what sea level is. And, the Germans and Swiss both own a piece of the Bodensee. So what is Germany's excuse? The bridge is over the Rhein, and over the North Sea - and not even close to the North Sea. Has Germany dummed down bridge engineering?? Come on guys, Germany has absolutely no excuse for not getting it right.
17:32 September 4, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Maybe the Germans should have brought in some Turkish engineers to get it right.
19:11 September 4, 2010 by mannheim316
What's a Turkish Engineer?
01:54 September 5, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A person who knows how to build a 90-meter bridge.
09:41 September 5, 2010 by Fumio Hamamoto
I am a Japanese in Japan. I also wonder at a height difference of 54 centimetres. There have been two towns by the same name of Laufenburg across Rhine River in both nations. Though I have not very much known of histories of both nations, would there have been some complex between nations speaking German a commmon language?
01:39 September 6, 2010 by Bishopbayern
I blame the meddelsome swiss, always dragging their feet. Germany should have pulled their side down and stuff the swiss
14:43 September 6, 2010 by T.J. Morton
Actually, @maxbrando, the Swiss no longer own America's Cup. The Golden Gate Yacht Club's BMW Oracle Racing Team defeated Société Nautique de Genève's Alinghi in March of 2010 to send the cup back to the U.S. for the first time since New Zealand's Black Magic won it in 1995!
02:25 September 13, 2010 by ErnestPayne
Two years may seem like an eternity to resolve a problem over a bridge. However the city of Buffalo, New York has been arguing for, literally, decades over the rebuilding of the Peace Bridge and its access area. It took an Act of Congress to get the first bridge built in the 1920's. It is going to take an act of god to get this one built.
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