Like a thorn in the flesh of oberaurach…

Like a thorn in the flesh of oberaurach...

The district of habberge has signposted an impressive network of cycle paths. Unfortunately, not all sections deliver what the average cyclist (i.E. Non-mountain biker) expects. Many people have to dismount and push at least once on the stretch between unterschleichach and tretzendorf, for example, if they don’t use the state road anyway, because they know the condition of the signposted cycle path through the forest.

A topic for three decades

The issue of connecting unterschleichach and tretzendorf has remained unresolved for almost 30 years, leaving a painful gap in the network of bike paths in the middle of the community, while the large municipality of oberaurach has in the meantime become optimally networked with the main valley and rauhenebrach – with paved bike paths along the road and with financial support from the state.

At the same time, this was one of the earliest places in oberaurach where the demand for a bicycle path was voiced. In the early years, when especially the population from trossenfurt-tretzendorf and the three schleichach villages demanded such a bike path, the construction failed due to financial hurdles. Money was not there. For the municipality had to cope with rough projects in sewerage and water supply and the tram construction office withdrew to the traffic load of the road. This one was too low, he said there, to justify a separate bike lane.

Approval on one condition!

When in 1993 the aurach-grund was to be designated a nature reserve in addition to the flora-fauna-habitat and other environmental protection requirements, the oberaurach community council agreed only if the planned cycle path along the road was not impaired.

Many years of different plans, lists of signatures and turbulent town hall meetings followed, a bike path along the road failed again and again. In order to reduce the total costs for the road construction office, the municipality built the first kilometer of cycle path from tretzendorf over the seed dam to the state road with a paved surface using subsidies from financial compensation funds, but the continuation of the project failed again and again due to the nature conservation authorities.

Because it was recognized that it would take a long time to implement the road, the municipality used the road construction in the course of the land consolidation to create at least one country lane connection in the slow axis of the municipality. The "waldtrasse", which is now signposted as a cycle path was created as a combined farm and cycle path. Here, too, there were difficult negotiations to be conducted, a large part of the path runs over property owned by the burgerspitalstiftung bamberg. It was due to their use requirements and the nature conservation requirements that the former mayor siegmund kerker had to retract his announcement that a bike path with an asphalt surface would be built here.

Gravel slides away

A gravel path was created. In 2011 it was finished, the surface would still consolidate, it said at the time. It has not done so – among other things because of the combined use by agriculture and forestry – on rough stretches to date. For a path through the forest to be durable, it needs a roof profile for drainage and a deep ditch next to it – from this point of view, the path is optimally built. But cyclists – especially families with children or elderly cyclists have a problem with this in many places.

And especially shortly before tretzendorf, there is a test of courage: instead of following the edge of the meadow, the path was led steeply uphill away from the nature reserve – and just as steeply it goes downhill again on the other side. Because of the slope and, of course, the slippery gravel surface, many average cyclists do not dare to descend and get off – if they brake in time and come to a stop without crashing. "Many people have already asked me what we were thinking when we built a gravel bike path. They were not going to drive the road a second time", says oberaurach’s second mayor hans albert, who farms land in the aurachgrund region and observes how bicycle traffic still takes place on the state road. "There it is life-threatening in the curves. As a cyclist I always try to get around as quickly as possible".

"It’s a never-ending problem that we can’t make any progress here", agrees mayor thomas sechser upon request. The emergency solution on the forest road could now even put the project to the sword. "Actually we had after long fight and innumerable environmental compatibility studies a permission of the government of lower franconia. We were allowed to build the path with high requirements regarding compensation areas. But then the government was sued by the nature conservation union, claiming that the permit was "not legal" tells six.

In view of the extensive preliminary work, he could not imagine that the administrative court could follow this opinion, but at a hearing that had been postponed again and again for a whole year, the judge explained that in his opinion a "reasonable alternative" was possible the government was not allowed to approve the road along the strabe.

Not in the interest of the people of oberaurach

"Our people are outraged by this decision, but at the moment there is little we can do but wait to see what the court decides. After all, it’s not us who are the defendants, but the government of lower franconia". The bike path in the middle of oberaurach will probably remain a long hanging matter for a long time to come.

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