Balanced Lock Gates

Free translation of an article published on 23/10/2003 in "Wochenanzeiger Neumarkt" (W_ANZ_DO/W4/ALL/ALL8)

BURGTHANN - Balanced lock gates could be seen by hikers and cyclists that used the good autumn weather to do a tour along the Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal. Lock number 33 near Rübleinshof is now intact again. The sandstone construction had already been renovated in accordance with monument protection principles during summer, and now the heavy wooden gates were reinstalled. So, ships could be passed through the lock at this point again, said Josef Bollwein, the head of functional area for governmental Hydraulic Engineering. The background to this measure is the intention of the municipality of Burgthann to connect up the horse drawn boat Elfriede - a special attraction for locals and tourists during summer - to the public transportation network, i.e. the railway station at Burgthann that is located near the canal. Passing the renovated lock would be for sure an interesting part of the boat trip. Today Elfriede goes from Schwarzenbach only towards Neumarkt, because in lock 33 an impassable wall, rather than gates, held the water since World War 2. The Water Authority as public authority of the Free State of Bavaria that is responsible for conservation of the monument supports the Burgthann plans and stepped in advance with the 80,000 € investment for renovating the lock.

But a larger hurdle has to be jumped over, until Elfriede can really be drawn by one of the heavy horses close to the station at Burgthann: for on the county road from federal road B8 to Burgthann the old bridge over the canal was demolished without further ado and a dam was heaped up during the first half of the sixties. The canal today is highly narrowed here, a combined foot- and bike path leading through a steel tube. To really get the horse drawn boat from Schwarzenbach close to Burgthann station, the canal has to be widened to 15 meters and a proper bridge with a span of about 25 meters has to be built over the waterway. Now it is the turn of the administrative district, Nuremberg Land. Because the street over the canal is a county road, it is responsible for building the bridge - a project with estimated costs of at least one million Euro. In view of empty public coffers, and those of the local authority, the wish will not easily be realised. But discussions between mayor Georg Hirsch, who likes to offer this attraction to his borough and to visitors of Burgthann, and the administrative district, Nuremberg Land, have already been held. Already during a local date in 1999 District Administrator Helmut Reich has argued, to make a financial contribution. Plans for the bridge were already made at the District Office, as mayor Hirsch has mentioned, but the project had to be put on hold due to the bad financial situation.

Hirsch expressed admiration for the work and support by the Water Authority and now he hopes, that the Administrative District will bring itself to build a bridge, »maybe even a historical one«. In this case one also could imagine, that grants from other sources - e.g. from Naherholungsverein Lorenzer Reichswald - will flow.