I know you were wondering. The question was just eating away at you.
I’ve written about this construction site a couple of times before. The first time I was wondering what was going on, as nothing was happening. The next time I provided an answer. Time for an update on the hole at the outskirts of Sulzburg.
The hole is still there, unchanged except for a bit more rainwater. There has been no activity since mid-December, which I gather is when the neighbors managed to get the project shut down.
My understanding, and please remember my German is imperfect, is that the city decided to build without consulting the people who lived next door. The city-owned land was there, there was a need for proper apartments for a group of Syrian refugees living in an abandoned school, so construction on an apartment building began.
I don’t know whether there is an injunction or whether the city agreed to halt construction while the dispute is resolved, but no work has been done for more than four months now. The building could have been finished. Instead one of the two roads leading into Sulzburg has been reduced to one lane for that time due to the presence of a construction crane. (And I do wonder at the cost to someone of keeping the crane there all this time.)
A cynic might wonder if perhaps there was some racism involved in the objection, a NIMBY response. Looking at the building site though I understand the neighbor’s’ concerns. I wouldn’t want a new building that close to mine either. You might never have sunlight again.
This week though there was a change, not a good one. The traffic lights controlling the single lane of the road were removed.
The road is still one lane, but now drivers can figure out for themselves when it is safe to travel. I guess there were a lot of complaints to the city about delays.
It wasn’t that the delays were long, the traffic lights changed color frequently. I think though that drivers were frustrated. It is not a busy road. Usually when you the light was red there were no vehicles coming in the opposite direction, so you were just wasting a minute of your precious time.
With the irritating lights gone though, there is less incentive to solve the dispute quickly. I wonder if a year from now I’ll be giving you a “no change” update.
That would be sad. Not only for what it says about German efficiency, but also for what it means to a groups of families dreaming of better living conditions.