At the Bonn Stadtgarten Installation of the lift at the Alter Zoll will cost considerably more

Bonn · The lift at the Alter Zoll is to cost twice as much as planned. Politicians criticise the city off the record, because even smaller projects regularly become more expensive.

 The Alter Zoll, the old customs office on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn is to get a lift; however, this will be more expensive than originally planned. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

The Alter Zoll, the old customs office on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn is to get a lift; however, this will be more expensive than originally planned. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

The members of Bonn district council only heard the bad news this week at the end of their meeting: in a non-public submission, the administration announced that the work to install a lift at the Alter Zoll will be considerably more expensive than planned. Instead of 116,000 euros, it will now cost about 233,000 euros – 117,000 euros more than anticipated.

The city of Bonn justified the cost increase as follows: Because several contract award procedures for the corresponding bar constructions for connecting the lift were unsuccessful, no contract could be awarded for work so far. But time is pressing on and the lift installation must be completed this spring if the ongoing renovation and repair of the Alter Zoll and the Stadtgarten are to be completed as desired in Beethoven’s anniversary year.

For this reason, the City of Bonn has put the contract out to tender again and has received an offer for about 233,000 euros, which it now intends to accept.

However, as the GA was informed, the district councils hesitated to give their approval. The whole thing was "too much" for them, it was said, and now the city council is to be entrusted with assigning the contract. No politician wanted to make a public statement with reference to the confidential draft resolution – these are contractual matters which, for data protection reasons, can only be dealt with in a non-public way. But in private, some politicians criticised the cost increase. “We experience this with almost every construction project that the city takes on”, said an annoyed district councillor.

Even if the increase in costs could be described as modest compared to the explosion in costs for the Beethovenhalle, it is incomprehensible why the city now has to pay more than twice as much for such a contract. After all, it was only for the metal bar structure for the lift. In its written justification statement, the city argued: Yes, admittedly the prices offered are extremely high. However, since the previous contract award procedure did not result in a reasonable offer and the work had to be carried out this spring, it now wanted to commission the new company to do the work. As reported, the Alter Zoll and Stadtgarten are currently being completely renovated as part of the city-centre master plan.

The first construction phase was intended be completed by the end of 2019

The first phase of construction should actually have been completed by the end of 2019, in time for the beginning of the Beethoven Jubilee Year. For various reasons, this did not quite materialise. This is why the city now wants to accelerate things, so that at least it can present the Stadtgarten and the Alter Zoll in a new light in the spring. For example, the green areas will be redesigned and new seating and pathways will be created from Stockenstrasse to the Alter Zoll and the Stadtgarten. A 90-centimetre high picnic wall made of natural stone elements is also to be erected. The administration describes the installation of the lift at Alter Zoll as the most important element to finally make access to the Rhine promenade accessible to the handicapped.

The new lift is to be installed into the available niche of the existing wall along the Brassertufer below the beer garden pavilion. The new staircase leading down from the Stadtgarten to the Rhine is also to be designed so that cyclists and parents with prams can also use it more easily.

The total cost calculation for the entire project so far amounts to 2.38 million euros. The state will cover 70 per cent of the total and it is already clear that it will cost at least 117,000 euros more. In view of bad experience with urban construction projects, some district councilors agree that in terms of costs, the end of the line has probably not yet been reached for this project either.

(Original text; Lisa Inhoffen, translation John Chandler)

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