After the massive rainfall of the past few days, a railway bridge over the Emscher in Dinslaken on the Lower Rhine has collapsed. "It is to be feared that the bridge will slide completely into the Emscher," said a spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Transport. "If that happens, we run the risk of a build-up." A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn confirmed that the bridge had been undermined by the flooding of the Emscher. "Bahn experts are investigating this at the moment."
On the lower reaches of the Emscher, there had already been major problems with flood protection after the severe storms on Friday. Parts of the dyke had slipped down due to the water masses. The dyke had eroded hundreds of meters, said the Ministry of the Environment. There is a residential area with about 100 houses nearby - in the meantime the question has been raised as to whether the residential area needs to be evacuated. Fire brigade, technical relief organization, police and numerous specialists were involved in a large-scale operation. Environment and Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens) was there on Friday to find out about the damage.
The railway bridge, which has now collapsed, crosses the Emscher in the area affected by the flood. It had already been blocked on Friday morning. On Friday afternoon, the Emschergenossenschaft had actually cautiously given the all-clear. Nevertheless, the railway bridge sagged on one side on Friday evening. "We are now going through various scenarios on how to proceed," said a spokesman for the Emscher Association.
Emschergenossenschaft: No risk of flooding due to the bridge
The Emschergenossenschaft sees no danger that the railway bridge, which has started to slip, will dam the river and cause the surrounding areas to be flooded. In the event that the bridge should fall into the Emscher and block the river, the technical relief organization had organized pumps, a spokesman said.
This enables the emergency services to direct the river water past the site. "On the basis of all available data and forecasts, we can say: Even if the bridge should fall into the Emscher, there is no risk of damming up," emphasized the spokesman.
Minister of Transport: Dike "should have withstood flooding"
Environment and Transport Minister Krischer had already warned during his visit on Friday that the stability of the railway bridge had to be checked. According to "WAZ", he also made his first criticism in a statement on site. "What is happening here on the dyke should not have happened. This dyke should have withstood this flood," said the minister, according to the report.
The Emscher in the northern Ruhr area was once the dirtiest industrial river in Germany and was used to dispose of wastewater from the Ruhr area. In recent years, the river has been renatured at great expense.