Rheinbrücke Neuenkamp. Photo: public domain

Another bridge over the Rhine was forced to close on Thursday, after a crack was found in a cable fixture. The bridge at Neuenkamp, which carries 100,000 vehicles across the river a day, is about 80km north of the Leverkusen bridge which has been closed to heavy goods vehicles since 2012, also because of cracks found.

The Financial Times reports that these instances are not isolated. German infrastructure has been starved of investment for years and is slowly crumbling.

There are questions as to whether allocating money is the problem, or whether planning restrictions and other red tape are the culprits. But there seems to be little doubt regarding the seriousness of the problem, as a wave of infrastructure approaches the end of its life cycle.

“It makes a huge difference if 1,000 or 10,000 lorries a day cross a bridge, or if they weigh 22 or 44 tonnes,” he says. “These structures are reaching the end of their service life much earlier.”