Heavy rains caused damage to agriculture, rail, and motorway routes

by Thorsten Koch

Agriculture has suffered much damage in the disaster areas in western Germany. “Several thousand hectares” of fields are affected, said a spokesman for the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture. Satellite images will allow for a more precise overview. In addition to the floods, the water turned grain around. In some cases, the green areas also cause problems for farmers.

According to an estimate, the floods caused total damage of around 1.3 billion euros to Deutsche Bahn. The overall extent cannot yet be foreseen, ts the board member Hentschel announced. The railway is now facing a major proof of strength. The infrastructure was destroyed in one fell swoop to an unprecedented degree. Seven routes have to be built from scratch, said a spokeswoman – a “mammoth task.” 600 kilometers of rail have been washed away.

According to Hentschel, more than 50 bridges and 80 train stations are affected. In addition, almost 180 level crossings, around 40 signaling units and over 1000 masts have been damaged. The railway now wants to try to fix the most massive damage in North Rhine-Westphalia until the end of the year. In Rhineland-Palatinate, one may need more time – perhaps years. Around 2000 Deutsche Bahn employees have been clearing debris and masses of mud since the heavy rain in the west of Germany seized. The consequences are significantly greater than with the historical Elbe flood. At that time, 400 kilometers of the route had been destroyed.

In long-distance traffic, all destination stations can already be reached again, for example on the Frankfurt-Cologne route. There could be delays. When planning new routes, Deutsche Bahn is preparing for extreme weather conditions, with a view to the year 2060.

A spokesman for the motorway company announced that 90 kilometers of expressway had been damaged. A company speaker said that in each case, one had to check whether the subsoil is stable. Even road sections that are intact cannot be released immediately. In just a few days, the Federal authorities can make the first temporary bridges accessible to traffic, said Federal Transport Minister Scheuer (CSU), according to media reports. For example, the Landgrave Bridge near Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler has been replaced by the Technical Relief Organization.

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