Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
As if not enough has been lost in Berlin so far, it seems it is time to say good bye to yet another historic building.
Despite the initial vows of help from both the Landesdenkmalamt and the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Borough Council the historic U-Bahn tunnel under Dresdener Strasse in Kreuzberg will be filled in.
According to the authorities, the badly weathered tunnel is a serious safety threat to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Dresdener Strasse: the decrepit ceiling of the never completed Gesundbrunnen-Neukölln Bahn (today U8) might collapse any time.
The estimated costs of restoration presented by the Landesdenkmalamt (Berlin and Brandenburg Heritage Authority) in February 2014 – 1.2 million Euros – would, as it turns out, not cover the costs of all necessary works. Berliner Unterwelten e.V., a well-known Berlin heritage group maintaining many of the city´s historic underground features and offering very popular tours of most of them, offered to invest 1 million Euro to preserve the facilities under Dresdener Strasse but, sadly, that proved to be too little.
Berliner Unterwelten, who were forced to stop organising tours of the “Dresdener Tunnel” in 2012, were planning to pay for raising the bearing capacity of the street: they offered to support it from below with 16 tonnes of construction steel per each lane. However, the Borough Council demands twice that volume be used.
So it seems that neither the historic value of the tunnel (abandoned U-Bahn line project, air-raid bunker during WW2 plus the underground section of the Berlin Wall still “standing” at the northern entrance to the tunnel) nor the growing public interest in the place, originally quoted by the Landesdenkmalamt in the minutes of their 2014 meeting, will save it from being filled in with hundreds of tonnes of sand. The estimated cost of the latter is significantly lower: 70,000 euros.
Looks like the curse plaguing Dresdener Strasse – first Wertheim paying 5 million Reichmarks to have the U-Bahn line diverted to Moritzplatz and effectively finishing off both the station Oranienplatz and the Dresdener “Tunnel”, the Wall, the demolition of the historic inn where Berlin´s social-democratic movement was born and, last but not least, the construction of the NKZ aka Kotti – has struck again.
The works will be carried out over the next couple of weeks.
The featured web page contains some very impressive photos of the inside of the tunnel made by a true Berlin U-Bahn expert and one of our lovely readers, Mr Thomas Krickstadt. Please, click the image to enter the gallery.