What to do with a Historic Bridge: Camsdorfer Bridge in Jena, Germany

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Camsdorfer Brücke (Camsdorf Bridge) spanning the Saale River between City Center and Jena-Ost.

 

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To be or not to be. That is the question that the city eastern Thuringia is facing in many aspects as it deals with housing and overpopulation issues, combined with education, social infrastructure, bike trails, and this bridge- the Camsdorfer Bridge, spanning the River Saale east of the city center.

The current bridge was constructed in 1913 but was widened in 2005 to accommodate additional lanes and two street car tracks. There is one problem though: the bridge is east of the railroad, which runs parallel to the main highway at Am Anger. While there are crossings at the intersections on both sides of the bridge, people are finding it annoying to not have an underpass running underneath as they are forced to dismount their bikes just to cross Camsdorfer Strasse at the bridge regardless of each end.

The Saale bike trail goes across the bridge but makes a sharp turn to the left at Wenigerjenaer Ufer at the Restaurant Grüne Tanne. A branch of the trail runs alongside the track before crossing at Griesbrücke near the train Station Saalbahnhof.  Now the debate is ongoing as to whether the trail should run underneath the Camsdorfer Bridge or if other measures should be carried out to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, which includes a traffic light at Grüne Tanne. The catch to the debate is that the west end of the bridge, where the trail would run underneath, is protected by law. According to the local newspaper OTZ, the area west of the bridge is considered a natural habitat due to rare plants and other species. Since 2000, the area has been considered off limits. The east end of the bridge is impassable due to the steepness of the cliffs plus the lack of space to have a bike trail.

This leads to the question of what to do in the case of the bike crossing at the Camsdorf Bridge. The support for having the bike trail underneath the Camsdorf Bridge is growing for claims of “There’s no other possibility,” as mentioned by politician Christian Gerlitz, is growing. Yet in order to lift the ban at the western end, the City of Jena will have to go through every Office responsible for Flora and Fauna, from the local level to one in Berlin. That will take lots of time, energy and valuable resources away, which can be used for other issues Jena is facing, which are both numerous and huge for one of the fast growing cities in the eastern half of Germany and one of the most expensive places to live in all of Germany, competing with the likes of Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich.

This leads to the question of whether an underpass is well worth the fight, or should it look for alternatives, as seen in this questionnaire below. Look at the options and mark which one you would take. A map of the area around the Camsdorf Bridge with the options being discussed, plus the newspaper article (click here) will help you understand the situation and make a choice objectively.  Comments can be added in the survey as well as in this article regardless of which language (English or German).  Good luck! 🙂

 

Note: OTZ is short for Ostthüringer Zeitung, which serves Jena and the eastern half of the State of Thuringia. It is part of the Funke Media conglomerate which is based in Erfurt.

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