The Graubünden village moves one meter a year. The government now wants to drain the mountain – whatever the cost.
It’s obvious: Brienz is slipping. Damage to buildings and infrastructure is increasing sharply. There are cracks in house walls and shifts. The village of Brienz is currently sliding down the valley by more than 1 meter per year. Sometimes it is up to 1.35 meters.
According to the Graubünden government, as a result of in-depth investigations, there are growing indications that high water pressure inside the mountain is responsible for the movements. This can be observed worldwide, also with other slides, the government wrote to the Graubünden parliament.
Depressurize the mountain
The first measures are taking effect: the pressure could be reduced with the exploratory tunnel that was built alone. The movements became slower.
That is why the Graubünden government now wants to build a large drainage tunnel and is applying to Parliament for a loan of CHF 40 million. This is intended to extend the current exploratory tunnel.
“We are obliged to initiate this now,” said the head of the Graubünden department for infrastructure, energy and mobility, government councilor Mario Cavigelli on Thursday. You have to try everything humanly possible to save the village.
Stollen costs up to 80 million Swiss francs
However, there are still many open questions. As of now, it is unclear exactly where the tunnel should go. Depending on the variant, it will be significantly cheaper or significantly more expensive. Estimates range from 20 million francs to 80 million francs. Which variant makes the most sense depends on further investigations and cannot yet be said, according to the government.
Let me put it bluntly: the whole thing is not a question of money.
“The mountain population, who is exposed to natural hazards, must be able to trust that the public sector will help to ward off dangers,” says government councilor Mario Cavigelli. To put it bluntly: the whole thing is not a question of money. “We have to create security and trust”.
It is also unclear whether the structural measures can really save Brienz. That means whether the slide can really be braked hard enough. For this you have to wait for the further test results from the existing exploratory tunnel, says government councilor Cavigelli. A bunch of unanswered questions – but at the same time it’s urgent. The million-euro loan comes to the Graubünden Great Council in December.
The danger of a rockfall increases
- The mountain above the village of Brienz is also moving – at up to 10 cm per day, especially when it has rained.
- The upper part of the slope has “disassembled”, says Stefan Schneider, geologist and head of the early warning service Brienz slide. Water can penetrate the loose rock.
- Minor crashes are to be expected. There is therefore an early warning system with traffic lights on the cantonal road.
- Larger crashes of up to one million cubic meters should be able to be predicted with the measuring devices.
- The evacuation concept of the municipality of Albula/Alvra is currently being revised.
The community had already informed last week that the slope above the village is in motion. The slope is monitored with an early warning system.
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The Article Is In German🡽