Traffic planning in hamburg: transversal bypass now “passage

Hamburg is sticking to the construction of a highway across Wilhelmsburg and Harburg. A replacement for the Kohlbrand Bridge is to be paid for additionally by the federal government.

Will the port route go over a new Kohlbrand Bridge? Photo: Christian Charisius/Dpa

Now things are suddenly getting very urgent. Construction of the harbor transversal through the southern port of Hamburg, which has been under discussion for about a quarter of a century, is to begin as early as 2020, if possible. That is the hope of Andreas Rieckhof, SPD councillor in the Economic and Transport Authority. By 2030, the almost ten-kilometer-long "harbor passage," as the route is now to be less cumbersomely called, could then be completed (see box). That would be "closing the gap in the highway network," Rieckhof said when presenting the new planning at a press briefing on Wednesday. In the evening, the authority wanted to present the plans at a citizens’ event in Wilhelmsburg.

Rieckhof expects to receive the green light from the Bundestag this year for the project, which is included in the priority needs of the Federal Transport Plan. Once the planning approval and subsequent court proceedings have been completed, he says, the ambitious schedule can be met. The route, which will cost almost one billion euros, is urgently needed as a supraregional link to relieve traffic congestion in the south of Hamburg.

Federal forecasts predict an increase in traffic volume of more than 40 percent by 2030, with truck traffic expected to rise by 38 percent. The port route is expected to accommodate up to 60,000 cars a day, relieving the roads in Wilhelmsburg, Moorburg and Harburg by 20 to 85 percent.

Residents’ initiatives and environmentalists, on the other hand, consider the plans an "ecological disaster" and nonsensical in terms of traffic. The freeway would generate additional traffic and also restrict Wilhelmsburg’s development potential, criticizes the "Zukunft Elbinsel" association.

Hafenpassage is the new, more common name for the project formerly known as the Hafenquerspange.

It forms the extension of the A26 highway coming from Stade from the A7 south of the Elbe Tunnel to the A1 at Stillhorn.

It thus cuts through the south of the Port of Hamburg between Wilhelmsburg and Harburg over a length of 9.5 kilometers.

The most expensive sections are an elevated bridge over the Suderelbe right next to the Moorburg coal-fired power plant and a flyover in the south of Wilhelmsburg in the Finkenriek area.

There are also "various highly affected natural areas" along the route, says Nabu chairman Alexander Porschke. It would destroy habitats with 53 plant and twelve breeding bird species on the Red List. Porschke therefore prefers a northern variant via a newly built Kohlbrand Bridge, because the existing one has to be replaced anyway.

The northern variant, however, is "less sensible from a traffic and economic point of view," says State Councilor Rieckhof. In addition, there are signals from the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Enak Ferlemann, to also participate in the construction of the new bridge. After all, the federal government had already paid for about 40 percent of the old bridge at the beginning of the 1970s.

Porschke, however, maintains that the southern route is "the most environmentally damaging of all." "We will probably," he says, "have to clarify that in court."

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