GA English on Sunday News in Brief for the Weekend

Rising water levels on the Rhine have led to some fairground attractions having to move, and a camp site has had to be evacuated; in a dramatic accident on Saturday, an SWB bus crashed through the crash barrier on the Südbrücke. Miraculously, no one was hurt; and the parking fees collected at Frankenbad swimming pool are being used to install new toilets that will be open to the general public. Our news in brief for Sunday.

Mondorf beach festival: fairground rides dismantled

he rising water level has already impacted the 88th Mondorf Beach Festival. Three rides had to be dismantled to avoid flooding, and the stage was taken down. "Unfortunately, we have to postpone our stage program for one year," the organizers stated. But the fireworks will proceed as planned, and the rest of the event remains unaffected.

Showmen on the ferry pier near the Rhine had been worried since Friday, said ride operator Pascal Brand. On Saturday morning, attractions including the Treasure Island amusement park were evacuated as the first waves hit the bank.

Campsite evacuated

The "Auf dem Salmenfang" campsite in Rheinbreitbach has had to shut down completely due to flooding. Located on the banks of the Rhine, the site includes a beer garden and typically operates from May to October. The season had just started a few days ago when the flood forced the evacuation of all 50 pitches on Saturday. "We had to send everyone home and cancel all bookings," said campsite manager Daniela Klein. At that time, 90 percent of the pitches were already occupied, with the rest expected to fill up by Sunday morning.

The evacuation, which was carried out with the help of the campsite staff and friends of the family who run it, has been a significant challenge. This year, all facilities, including the kitchen, bar, and storage are housed in five mobile containers, as the old building had to be demolished over the winter. However, these containers must be removed again on Sunday due to the flooding. A specialist company from Bonn has agreed to handle the removal, but they require a special permit to operate on Whit Sunday. "If we don't get this permit from the public order office, the containers could get flooded and damaged by floating debris, which would mean a loss of around 70,000 euros for us," Klein explained.

Even if the floodwaters recede by the middle of next week, the campsite will not be able to resume operations immediately. "The container company has told us that they won’t have the capacity to put the containers back for another week and a half,” says Klein. This means the campsite will remain out of business for at least the next two weeks, affecting operations during Whitsun and Corpus Christi.

SWB suspends operation of tram line 66 from Sunday

With the water level of the Rhine in Königswinter and Bonn expected to exceed 6.50 meters by Sunday, Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) is suspending tram services on line 66 between Königswinter-Oberdollendorf and Bad Honnef from start of operations on Sunday until further notice. Buses will replace trams on this section.

Buses will run between Oberdollendorf and Bad Honnef stations, with stops within a five to ten-minute walk of the railway stations. Exceptions include Oberdollendorf and Longenburg, where buses will stop near the railway siding. Instead of the stops for Königswinter Fähre and Königswinter Denkmal, passengers can use the Clemens-August-Straße and Ferdinand-Mülhens-Straße stops. Passengers should check these stop locations in advance and allow extra time to get there.

It is unclear when cleanup and regular rail services can resume. Stadtwerke will monitor the flood situation and provide updates.

(Original text: Michael Wrobel)

SWB bus breaks through central crash barrier on the Südbrücke

A bus operated by Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) broke through the central crash barrier on the A 562 near the Beuel-Süd junction on Saturday morning and travelled several hundred meters on the opposite carriageway. In doing so, it hit several vehicles travelling on the bridge. After around 800 metres, it came to a halt under the A59 motorway bridge at the Ramersdorf exit road in the direction of Bad Godesberg. No one was injured, according to a spokesperson for the Cologne motorway police.

Bus driver briefly unconscious

It appears the 65-year-old bus driver had briefly lost consciousness, leading to the loss of control. He first hit a car in front of him and pushed it along. He then broke through the centre crash barrier and drove into oncoming traffic, where oncoming vehicles managed to avoid him. The bus driver regained consciousness and was able to apply the brakes, according to the police.

As a result of the accident, the Südbrücke was closed in both directions from approximately 10:20 a.m. on Saturday. The closure started from the B9 feeder road in Bonn on the left bank of the Rhine. Clarissa Pütz from the SWB press office confirmed that the bus involved in the accident was empty and had just left the depot in Friesdorf.

Three individuals received medical attention at the scene of the accident, including the bus driver who was taken to hospital. According to Sebastian Sedlacek, head of operations for the Bonn fire department, a medical emergency was the likely cause of the accident. The other two who received medical treatment were occupants of another car involved in the accident, driven by a 49-year-old woman on the opposite lane. They were attended to on-site and were able to leave the scene of the accident on their own. Despite the severity of the incident, no injuries were reported.

The Südbrücke remained closed for several hours on Saturday due to the extensive accident site, covering about 1.5 kilometres, spilt diesel and significant damage to the crash barrier. Thirty emergency and fire service personnel from stations 1 and 3 were involved. The scale of the spill exceeded the fire department's capacity, and they needed help from the road maintenance department.

The road maintenance department, along with the police, worked to secure the broken barrier, which required about 50 meters of repair or replacement, and a specialised company was called in to handle the damage. The SWB managed to recover the bus.

(Original text: Axel Vogal, Michael Wrobel and Chantal Dötsch)

Parking feel flow into public toilets at Frankenbad

Parking at Frankenbad swimming pool used to be free, but since May last year it has cost two euros to park for just half an hour. The city council had made this decision in June 2021. After a year of collecting fees, the administration has now taken stock. Between the beginning of May 2023 to the end of April 2024, the city has taken in a total of 67,192.30 euros – initially, only 32,000 euros were expected, as indicated in a report.

Toilets also open in summer

The city is planning to use these revenues to make the toilets at Frankenbad, which were previously only accessible to indoor pool visitors, available to the public – all year round. The facilities will be accessible via the main entrance and the foyer between 2 PM and 10 PM. Cleaning and security staff will ensure that the toilets remain clean and that no one enters other areas of the indoor pool unauthorized. Even during the summer months from late May to late August, when the indoor pool is closed, the toilets will remain open.

Visitors to the indoor pool can have two full hours of parking deducted from their admission price. But many affected are displeased, something that is reflected in the emptiness of the parking lot. "I'm not happy about the fees," says 29-year-old Bilal Sealiti, who regularly parks at Frankenbad. "Parking spaces are already scarce," he adds. Hannelore Kremgroß also complains about the limited selection of free parking options: "Driving here is out of the question; it’s better to use the bus or tram," she notes. Parking spaces in the vicinity are scarce.

With the upcoming implementation of the new parking concept for the Nordstadt, there will be even fewer spaces to park cars. A total of 2,100 parking spaces will be subject to fees, and 400 will be eliminated to make way for wider pavements.

(Original text: Patricia Osten Macedo)

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