Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Leftover Value of the Cold War

Locally, here in my region of Germany (Wiesbaden), we have this little episode surrounding the Schiersteiner Bridge.  Because of the 'little' accident on one column by the bridge-building crew working on the replacement bridge....our current bridge is shut down.  With only three bridges in the entire Wiesbaden-Mainz-Frankfurt's a pretty severe situation currently.  This week, the smart engineer guys will have the meeting and decide how it'll be fixed, but no one is thinking it'll happen in one month....and possibly even two months.

So, they've gone to some drastic steps.

Down along the river, near Budenheim (Mainz side of the river) and Walluf (Wiesbaden side of the river), there's this old US port operation where a ferry operation was run for a number of years.  Distance between the two point is about thousand feet.  They've now decided to get a ferry (no idea who has ferries just hanging around), and open up this twenty-four operation of ferry service....within days.

These usually aren't big ferries that the Germans run on the Rhine.  I've ridden on two and they usually hold twenty cars at best.  It's a three-minute ride for the vessel to undock, maneuver across the river and re-dock. Loading the twenty-odd cars take three times as long as to cross.  So, in one hour, you might get eighty cars across, if lucky.

It's not a big deal, but at this point.....the criticism is so high....that they have to do something to lessen the complaints.

A guy living on the south side of the Rhine by twenty miles, and trying to get across......can add an entire hour onto his normal trip (just one way) by using the two remaining bridges.

The odd thing to this story is that the two old US Army ports are still usable and now show an enormous value.  I doubt if the US Army has used either port since the early1980s.  Both were flipped over at least two decades ago to the regional governments, and just sat there.....unused.

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