Projects to improve historic tunnel and bridge links are now progressing in Germany after some delays. These are for the refurbishment of the old Elbe Tunnel in Hamburg and a bridge upgrade in Cologne. Stretching some 426m, the Old Elbe Tunnel runs from the St Pauli area on the north of the River Elbe to the port area in the south. Opened in 1911 the twin tube tunnel is of historic value, even though its importance for vehicle traffic is now comparatively minor following the opening of a new road tunnel in 1975.

Refurbishing the tunnel will cost an estimated €120 million, which includes the improvement work required at both ends of the link. However the cost of the project is rather more than when it was first raised in 2008, when refurbishing the tunnel was expected to come with a pricetag of just €16 million. The historic Old Elbe Tunnel runs 24m under the river and can be accessed by lifts at either end. Because of this, the vehicle traffic is now light but it is still used frequently by pedestrians and cyclists.

Meanwhile in Cologne, the city’s planning office has awarded a contract worth some €139 million to rebuild an old bridge link. The work will be carried out by the Swiss contractor Implenia. The improvement work is needed as there are concerns over the ongoing structural integrity of the link due to its age.