The plans for the replacement of the new Gertrauden Bridge and the Mühlendamm Bridge in Berlin-Mitte have been changed. Both bridges are to be built narrower.
The traffic administration reacted to the violent protest against the previous car-friendly planning. Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) spoke on Wednesday at the presentation of the “optimized” plans of “real traffic turning bridges”.
The New Gertrauden Bridge, which spans the Spree Canal, is to be only 29 meters wide in future instead of the current 34 meters – i.e. five meters less. The Mühlendamm Bridge over the Spree will be nine meters narrower than it is now, instead of the current 45 it will be 36 meters in the future.
The previous winning design of the 2021 realization competition envisaged a width of 41 meters. Construction of both bridges is scheduled to start in 2024 and completion is scheduled for 2028.
The old plans had triggered a storm of protest. An alliance of citizens’ forum, the BUND environmental association, Changing Cities, the Berlin-Brandenburg architects’ and engineers’ association and the Leipziger Strasse interest group had already announced that they would sue the plans.
Both bridges from the GDR era are so dilapidated that they have to be rebuilt. In order to avoid a time-consuming planning approval process, the Senate wanted to build both buildings almost like their very large predecessors. The very wide highway is currently cutting through the urban space there, a redesign would have been impossible.
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The Mühlendamm Bridge now has “comfortable separate cycle paths” from the start, the administration announced. So far, cyclists should share the lane with BVG buses. The middle lanes can be used by motorized private transport until the tram route from Alexanderplatz to the Kulturforum is completed.
Jarasch praised the new plans: “They are still good for the high traffic loads, but they are ready for an adjustment to a Berlin of the mobility turnaround in which car traffic plays a much smaller role than it does now.”
The revision of the plans “followed the evaluation of the committed discussions with citizens and the Mitte district in the participation process for the realization competitions”. The winner of the competition for the Mühlendamm Bridge, which has already ended, was informed and involved.
A design competition is also planned for the new Gertraudenbrücke, “which is intended to focus on the qualitative upgrading of the entire urban space on the Spittelmarkt”. The listed Old Gertrauden Bridge, which runs parallel to the new one, will be fully preserved and will be used for cyclists and pedestrians heading west.